Kindness by Angela Caldin

I had a video call the other day with my family in Auckland. My youngest granddaughter ran towards the camera in a stripy nightie with the words be kind in white lettering on the front. Nice, I thought, better than so many of the annoying slogans on girls’ clothes such as: little miss attitude, cool kid alert, girls rule, princess, j’adore and totally in love with today. Then I thought about the sort of slogans we see on boys’ t-shirts such as: here comes trouble; young, wild and free, roarsome dude and… Read More

Proverbs and idioms by Angela Caldin

A few weeks ago, I was pondering on the difference between an idiom and a cliché. I understood that the overall meaning of an idiom is different from the meaning of the individual words used, whereas a cliché is a phrase or expression which has been severely overused so as to become hackneyed and stale. In addition, I realised that many idioms, though by no means all, are also clichés This week I’m pondering on the difference between an idiom and a proverb and finding that, though the distinction is often clear,… Read More

Angela’s ABCs – clichés and idioms by Angela Caldin

At the weekend, I was telling anybody who would listen that I’d been spending time with someone who spoke using a lot of clichés. To illustrate my point, I gave an example, ‘We mustn’t upset the apple cart.’ My younger daughter, who, surprisingly, had been listening, said, ‘That’s not a cliché, it’s an idiom.’ I was intrigued. She knows about these things because she’s a primary school teacher and she teaches her Year 4s all about these figures of speech: metaphor, simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia, idiom and cliché. Even so, I still felt… Read More

The elusive cappuccino by Angela Caldin

When I was a child in the 1950s, if I wasn’t playing with the many shiny and exotic buttons in my mother’s button box, I would probably be reading from a book of poetry for children written by A A Milne, the creator of Christopher Robin, entitled When We Were Very Young. It was first published in 1924, and was illustrated by E H Shepard. It didn’t take long for it to become a best seller. Butter or marmalade One of my favourite poems was The King’s Breakfast, an engaging story of… Read More

What’s in a name? By Angela Caldin

There’s a New Scientist journalist called John Hoyland who invented the term ‘nominative determinism’ for those strange and interesting cases of people who seem drawn to their chosen profession because of their name. He became interested in the subject after hearing of a scientific paper by authors JW Splatt and D Weedon on the topic of incontinence, on the same day as seeing a book on the Arctic written by Daniel Snowman. Some obvious examples include Judge Judge and Doctor Nurse, as well as the music teacher called Miss Fiddle who became… Read More