Today's Guardian includes a short letter from me on one of my favourite topics: how simple phrases are being replaced by ugly, longer ones.
It was prompted by a letter from Mary Williams about a query in the paper's Notes & Queries column asking why many people now say train station instead of railway station. In my letter I asked what fool decided to replace the lovely expression 'keeping a promise' with the horrible 'delivering on a promise'.
Politicians and business leaders are the worst offenders. (The founder of BlackBerry-maker RIM, Mike Lazaridis, used a variation, 'deliver on a goal', in a RIM YouTube video saying sorry to customers whose smartphones had been out of action for days.)
I've never understood why business people and politicians use gobbledegook. The simple way to get a message across is to use plain English. But as I've said many times on Ertblog, too many think simple language is somehow inadequate or unimpressive. The opposite is true.
On the subject of language, I discovered Tim Phillips' Talk Normal blog today. I loved the post about the nonsense spoken by sports commentators. Tim confirms the suspicion that politicians use obscure language to make unpalatable messages unintelligible - take this example from the HS2 high speed rail proposals.