So, let’s talk about language

Anyone that knows me could tell you that I get very annoyed at the wrong use of the English language. I am not a perfectionist by any means and I make mistakes myself, everyone does, but I do get annoyed at the incorrect use of words by quite a large percentage of the English-speaking world. My biggest bugbears are the incorrect use of there, their and they’re and the near unrelenting addition of the word ‘so’ to the beginning of sentences. (The title of this post is ironic, in case anyone was about to jump on me).

Understanding how to use ‘there’ correctly isn’t difficult, it should be taught at school in early stages of English lessons. Even if someone had somehow missed that part of their education it is not hard to find out how to use those words, especially in these days of instant access to information via the internet. To me, the continued misuse is just laziness by most people. I used to point the errors out to those I know but even then it was of no use, I was ignored and they appeared to believe it wasn’t important. I no longer bother, but just grumble to myself.

On to ‘so’. For some reason it now seems to be the accepted norm to add ‘so’ to the beginning of nearly every sentence, especially when answering a direct question. It used to be a young person’s thing, I think starting in the States, but now you hear it almost continually from folk of all walks of life. Stop it! There was an interesting piece on the first use of the word to start a sentence in a recent edition of Current Archaeology1. Christopher Catling says in that article that he thinks it started in the 1960s, used by beat poets. He also thinks that its use to allow time for thinking at the beginning of a reply is acceptable, I disagree, it sounds awful and is unnecessary. At its worst it sounds arrogant.

I haven’t even touched on the use of ‘could of’ instead of ‘could have’ and the similar abominations. Nor have I spoke of my despair at the use of the greengrocers’ apostrophe. This bugs me so much that I rarely use an organisation or shop that displays one on their advertising.

I realise the the language must evolve and has been doing so for centuries but when we have clear conventions for the use of language these should be maintained. I accept, if not welcome, new words to English but its blatant misuse should be stopped.

There, I have had my say, it will be ignored as always but at least I’ve got it off my chest.


1 Catling, C. (2017) Sherds, Current Archaeology, 330, pp 64-65.


Since I was a school kid I have been interested in all things paranormal, occult and Fortean, though I doubt I knew them by those names at that time. I read Dennis Wheatley novels and watched Hammer films consuming everything I could to increase my knowledge. I graduated onto non-fiction quite quickly and started to study the subjects critically, if with a little bias.

As time passed I became more interested, I became a member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and the Ghost Club. I also attended many sessions at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain in Belgrave Square, London. In the eighties I discovered Fortean Times, then only available via subscription, and avidly read each issue. I registered as an investigator, to be honest I can’t remember if it was with the SPR or the Ghost Club, but only received one request to investigate a reported haunting at a pub. I called the landlord to arrange a visit but when I went to the pub it was closed, no sign of life – of any description. I asked at the next nearest pub and they immediately thought I was a debt collector – alarm bells rang. It seemed the pub I was interested in had been doing a bad trade for many years and had tried everything to increase its profits. Perhaps claiming it had a ghost was one of those things it tried. I think it was about this time that my skepticism began to grow.

Since then I have thought a lot about the paranormal and my studies into it and now generally believe that things such as ghosts, spirits, the afterlife, UFOs (as visitors from another planet) etc do not exist. I still try to keep an open mind and if one day there is some proof that I am happy with I will no doubt change my mind. So far no such proof has been forthcoming. I realise many people do believe in such things and that’s fine by me as long as they don’t keep harping on at me to change my mind. With the arrival of the internet and mobile technology there has been an increase in reports of hauntings and unexplained phenomena. Usually, with a little thought and logic, it can be explained as ‘normal’ quite easily.

There are many sites on the net that deal with paranormal issues both believers and skeptics and I will list a few below that I feel are decent. Hayley Stevens produces a good web site in which she discusses ghosts etc. She too used to be a believer but now is more skeptical (I say that as if she were a friend but I have never met her). She also produces the Spooktator podcast which I always enjoy listening to, it has a wide variety of topics under the paranormal umbrella. Another site is run by Sharon Hill. I’ll leave you to discover more for yourself by following the links.

I hope to feature posts from some of these sites here in this blog (links, of course, not stealing their content) in the future.

Hayley Stevens


Doubtful News (Sharon Hill)

Fortean Times

Kenny Biddle

Initial Thoughts

Welcome to this blog. I hope to post a number of items on different topics. I intend posting on what I am up to, where I’ve eaten, things I’ve seen both in the real world and on the web. My intentions are good but time will tell how often I actually get around to it.

If you read one of my posts and would like to comment then I would be delighted to hear from you, whatever your thoughts. I look forward to developing the blog over the coming months.