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*Pedant Mode On*
Would someone please tell certain BBC newsreaders/reporters that 'refute' does not mean 'deny' but 'disprove'.

Actually, I note that an hour or so later, the phrasing has been changed from "Number 10 has refuted this" to "Number 10 has denied this." Quite.
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On Fox News, "refute" is always the last word. All you have to do is deny and you refute. lol

I'm not surprised, but I do expect better from the Beeb!

Quite. And if I hear "begs the question" used to mean "leads us to ask" one more time, my radio probably will go out the window....

Let's hope they don't all go that way eventually.

There was a noticeable occasion when a BBC radio announcer pronounced "Arkansas" as "Ar-Kan-sas" so plainly hadn't been in touch with the Pronunciation Unit (yes, they have one.)

Of course, that pales before the example of Jack de Manio who, in the 40s, found himself announcing a programme on the World Service called`"Land of the Niger" - he'd had a few beers and had never heard of the "Niger" so read it out as "Land of the Nigger"... It didn't do his career much good even then!

I think no 10 planted the stories to make him sound more interesting.

Gordon "Interesting" Brown, eh? Like Steve "Interesting" Davis. But at least Steve was bloody good at what he did...

He made a complete shambles of the tax system. Tinkering round the edges with no idea what would happen after each change. He's really very short sighted and micro managing so I can believe he's a bully

It's all these young editors and journalists wot didn't get a proper English education... and judging by my kids' schools this will get worse. They're getting a good grounding in writing techniques (such as persuasive writing etc) but somewhere along the line someone forgot that you do need a knowledge base to underpin those techniques - like spelling, grammar and punctuation and what the words actually mean! And studying the work of some Really Really Good Writers would help. I despair of a world where English Literature is an optional qualification...

*Takes grumpy old woman hat off as is at least 10 years too young for it*

Sorry, Lil! That was me - for some reason lj occasionally logs me out unexpectedly when I post to your page and I don't spot it until after I've posted it.

I know that, while I did learn formal grammar, a lot of my writing style is purely instinctive. Sometimes I have to do a bit of research to figure out why something I or someone else has written is just wrong. I am sure that this instinct is due to the amount of reading I've done over the years.

Now, if only it worked for spelling...

That's pretty much how I work - I'm naturally good with words and I know when something just *sounds* wrong in my head. I did do formal grammar at school but got very good results just working on what sounded right to me rather than by applying a rule. Mr S is frequently much better at explaining grammar to the kids than I am because he's not as naturally good at it. And, yes, I strongly believe extensive reading - and experiencing what very good writers can achieve - is a vital part of internalising grammatical rules (as well as giving you a feel for when breaking the rules is appropriate!)

I can spell. I spell very well (though my typing is sadly innaccurate...) Commas are my bug bear.

I have always read very quickly, which means that I see words as blocks without noticing their spelling. It meant that I have never been able to spell, and quite often mispronounce unusual words and names that I have only seen in print.

I pronounced "Zelazny" wrong for over twenty years, because I never looked at the way it was spelt.

If Number 10 has denied it, Number 6 must be wrong.

You are Number 6.

(Come on now, you're old enough to remember The Prisoner!)

Actually, I understand that Number 6 was meant to be John Drake from McGoohan's previous series Danger Man - at least, that was his story.

I have no idea of who lives at Number 6 Downing Street, on the other hand.

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