Pressgang Blog : Bob Ireland

Thursday, 7th August 2014

The gender trap

Bear in mind when you consult a dictionary that it records usage; it doesn’t distinguish between correct and incorrect usage. So, for instance, the OED now tells you that literally means the same as metaphorically. But it doesn’t, does it? All that has happened is that the word literally is so often used wrongly that the dictionary has […]


Thursday, 31st July 2014

Proceed with caution: icon ahead

Iconic. Whatever does it mean? I’ve seen and heard the adjective applied to everything from a holiday to a burger. Usually, as in the case of a famous building, it means simply that, famous. Icon, in its original sense, just means image. If I make a painting or a sculpture of you, it’s an icon […]


Friday, 2nd May 2014

Ee, bah goom

What’s the difference between an employer and an employee? We all know that, don’t we? The –er ending denotes the person doing whatever the verb says, in this case employing, and the –ee denotes the person to whom it is done. Think of payer, payee, or interviewer, interviewee. But then think of retirer, escaper or […]


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