As you may know I am fascinated by language. I have been reading a book called "Watching The English" by Kate Fox in which she talks us through the different ways English people behave (especially to how people from other countries would expect them to).
My favourite thing about the English language is when different phrases or words can have several meanings depending on what is actually being said.
For example - if you told me you were going to "pass out" I would seek medical attention for you. But if a Police Officer or a Military person told me they were going to "pass out" chances are they would not be asking me to seek medical attention for them - I would probably hear details about a "Passing out Parade" (and no - I don't think it involves people in an exhibition of synchronised fainting).
However, there is one word that I hate when it is on boards selling the Leicester Mercury (my local newspaper) - "Critical".
This is usually because it is the last word in a short headline about the victim of a road traffic collision or a stabbing, etc.
"Accident On St Margarets Way - Man Critical"???
When you read the story in the newspaper you will find the man in the headline is "critically ill" or very poorly indeed.
On the other hand - when I first read a headline like that I wonder whether the man is a bystander who has made a comment about the accident and how "something really needs to be done about that junction", etc. Or maybe the man has complained about the treatment he recieved as a result of the accident.
The wonders of the English language.
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