Language gripes

Sir, – I share Patsy McGarry's irritation and loathing for some of the phrases that seem to have insinuated themselves into my daily life (In a Word, October 23rd ).

When did it become normal to respond to “How are you?” with “Good!”. What happened to “Well” or “Very well”? “Good” seems to me to be a description of behaviour rather than of wellbeing.

My hackles rise at the common failure to realise that “data”, like “media” are plurals and should carry plural verbs. I see red when my simple questions requiring a “Yes” answer generate the response “Absolutely”, when the matter is rarely absolute.

But I burst a blood vessel when I see plurals apostrophised, as in “the 1950’s” – when everything, of course was perfect.


On reflection, I think Patsy and I should thank the Lord if these trivial matters are the most irritating, loathsome and annoying matters in our lives.

– Yours, etc,


Sutton, Dublin 13.