I’m not going to die in a ditch about it
|Towards more picturesque speechTM
George Orwell on plain English | SEC guidance on plain English Plain English Anatomy™ Noun | Verb | Adjective | Adverb | Preposition | Conjunction | Latin | Germany | Flannel | Legal triplicate | Nominalisation | Murder your darlings
For you are busy, you need to get out the door because it’s your anniversary, or you are keen to enjoy the work-life balance your employer keeps going on about, and the last round of comments include asking you to remove the bold from a full stop, the single insertion: “unless the parties otherwise agree”, or the careful clarification that such prior notice is “not to have retrospective effect”.
You know this is pedantic, oafish, legally ignorant, but — like celery — while it brings no joy, it does no harm. An adversarial conversation with this fellow is likely to end in harsh words or even violence, so you demur: “I’m not going to die in a ditch about it”, you say, by which you mean “I will try to control my animal impulses so you don’t wind up dead in a ditch”, and in that clumsy utterance goes, but only because you think that’s the last you’ll ever hear of it.
- True Story. A gentleman from the in-house team at Credit Suisse once marked up a pricing supplement, asking me to remove bold from a full stop, which I had sent him by fax. At 2 in the morning. Twist: THE FULL STOP WASN’T BOLD: it was an artefact from the low resolution of the fax machine. I am not still bitter about this.