Is this the business writer’s best book?
My copy of Tony Thorne’s The 100 Words that Make the English has just arrived. It’s riveting stuff, the absolute must-read for business writers (thanks to ex-Saatchi friend A for recommending it). Brilliantly written, wickedly perceptive about the way we use and abuse our national language – be warned, fellow-writers, because you won’t be able to put it down.
Here’s an example: ‘dear’, the first word in so many formal letters (as in ‘Dear Sir/Madam’). But we’re reminded that George Orwell prefers barmaids to call him ‘dear’, rather than ‘duckie’ … no longer cool to use this word, apparently. Oh dear!
Or ‘ginger’: the author notes that “it was once observed of US president Ronald Reagan that he had gone prematurely orange” and follows this up with a discussion of ginger-baiting, including that popular target Prince Harry.
Or ‘trade’: think of the awful social stigma of being ‘in trade’…