Tis the gift to be simple Part 2 by Trevor Plumbly

‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’                         I’m enjoying simplicity of thought a lot more of late. I’ve reached the conclusion that most of the discontent going round is caused by too much information and not enough understanding; everyone seems to suck stuff up these days. Life’s hiccups used to be a lot more public and whatever it chucked at you somebody had a cliché on hand for verbal therapy and, of course, to let others know that it wasn’t their fault and, more importantly, it wasn’t happening to them. The… Read More

Mutating idioms by Angela Caldin

He did it off his own back You hear that a lot these days, so much so that it’s entered into common use. In fact, the original expression is ‘He did it off his own bat’. The bat in question is a cricket bat and the first activity that was said to be done ‘off someone’s own bat’ was to score runs. The idiom conveys the idea of someone doing something independently, without prompting. Each one worse than the next This phrase makes no sense if you pause to think about the… Read More

Similes and metaphors by Angela Caldin

What’s the difference? Both similes and metaphors are used to make writing more interesting by using striking comparisons. The difference between them comes down to two words. Similes use the words like or as to compare things: The thunder sounded like several fireworks going off at once. In contrast, metaphors directly state a comparison, as in Katy Perry’s song: Baby, you’re a firework! Here are some other examples of similes and metaphors: Life is like a box of chocolates. (Simile) My life is an open book. (Metaphor) The dancer’s hands fluttered like… Read More

“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” (Joni Mitchell) by Trevor Plumbly

“There ain’t half been some clever bastards” (Ian Dury) I listened to a British talk show recently and, like NZ and Oz, they’ve got loads of folk waffling about the mundane things of life. The target for these media crusaders (let’s call them ‘progressives’) was language; this particular bunch decided, after some deliberation, that certain descriptive terms are no longer acceptable. They focussed on name-calling: describing someone as ‘skinny’, ‘tubby’ and the like is ‘body shaming’ and must now be considered emotionally damaging. I was shocked by the attack on British schoolboy… Read More

Words sometimes confused: incredible and incredulous by Angela Caldin

Incredible means that something is difficult to believe whereas incredulous means that someone is unwilling or unable to believe. So something that seems unbelievable or implausible is incredible, but if you have trouble believing something, you are incredulous. The word incredible is often overused to describe something astounding. It applies to an unbelievable situation, while incredulous applies to an unbelieving person rather than a situation. They paused for a few minutes to admire the incredible sunset, fiery red and brilliant orange against the darkening sky. Maradona was an amazing footballer with fantastic… Read More