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Pedants' Corner

@MikeFranklin. Just wonder if you are aware of the TPS, Telephone Preference Service. If you register with them it does stop most cold calls. I just get perhaps 1 every few months now.

Oh yes, thanks, though I have a call blocking phone which I find even more effective. However I’m talking here about business calls rather than private ones. And, in fairness, they are not always strictly speaking cold calls but ones from suppliers we have used in the past and who are trying to get us to use them again and/or spend even more money with them.

Reach out has come from nowhere* to everywhere very quickly

*i.e. USA

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Can we add the now compulsory use of ‘without further ado’ to every introduction of a speaker?


Yes, I think it is good for applicants to show their passion, but to have to say you are passionate sounds rather feeble. Same applies to “good communication skills”, perhaps even more so.

At one interview I once admitted that I was not particulary interested in their general industry. How can you feign an interest in pipelines? And when I was asked why I was applying for the job, I said I had recently been made redundant, and needed to move into the area because my wife was working there. They just nodded their heads understandingly and moved on - and I was eventually offered the job. The important thing is to demonstrate you are able and willing to do what is required, and being able to bullshit is still optional in some lines of work.


I have some sympathy especially for people applying for their first real job. Being honest in an interview is one thing (and always good if you have the confidence), but where the application requires a cover letter (which seemed pretty standard when I graduated at least), unless you’re going to leave it at “I would like to apply for this job” I remember it being hard to avoid bullshit.

I’m in a technical field where I can ask technical questions in interviews, but I’ve had to go to general interviewer training sessions several times, and it often feels like the whole process is a general invitation to bullshit.


On the management speak phrases that grate I cannot abide ‘lean in’.

As far as interviewing goes I used to recruit researchers in the physical sciences/engineering field. We used to give candidates a champagne preserver device which I think was called a ‘fizz keeper’ which pumped air into a champagne bottle through a stopper. It was amazing the range of views we got as to whether it worked or not and what the reasoning was.


I recently had an applicant for a job in my team who claimed they were passionate about Information Management. We actually decided to call their bluff and give them an interview. It turns out they were not passionate about Information Management.

No one is passionate about Information Management.


Did you ask them to demonstrate their passion?

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I really should have done. I asked them what sparked this passion. Silence came the response.

I was once told by a colleague who’d worked at EY for a while that he was surprised at how many people “always wanted to be a Consultant”. Even consultants don’t want to be consultants, that’s why they spend their time coming up with these really annoying phrases. (for the record, I have been a consultant).


I used to work in the London insurance market. In my whole career I met one person whose first choice career it was.


I am passionate about ripe figs, with a good Parma ham and some cheese.


Indeed, we reached out to the US for this one.

I don’t know whether these have cropped up yet on this thread but ‘can’t be arsed’ instead of can’t be asked, makes my blood boil and why does everyone begin speaking by saying ‘to be fair’. Bloody infuriating!

There is only one acceptable circumstance for using the phrase “reach out” whilst at work, and that is if you are a member of The Four Tops.


The other one I hate for initiating speech is “So.” It’s usually grammatically correct and only serves the purpose of giving them time to think what they actually want to say. In other words is really no better than “Ummm”!

Errr, yes, It has come up before.

See here

Pedants’ Corner - Home & Lifestyle - The Society’s Community (thewinesociety.com)

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I’m a bit baffled here. “Can’t be arsed” is as far as I’m concerned a fairly normal UK expression, and I’ve never heard “can’t be asked” used as a synonym [well, never read… I suppose I might have heard it and not noticed the difference].

Of course I may have it backwards, but when there’s a somewhat graphic term that makes sense [“arsed”] and a sanitized one that doesn’t [not that “can’t be asked” doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t mean the same thing], it would be very surprising if the sanitized form was the original.

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So, like, I don’t understand why you’d get particularly irritated by the precise form of verbal hesitation. I agree it’s no better than “ummm”, but also don’t see how it’s worse.

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I guess because it is grammatically incorrect. Using ‘so’ at the beginning of the conversation says that the statement is not answering a question, which is how I hear it used all the time, but rather that it is a statement that follows on logically from the other person’s statement/question which it almost invariably does not. I have a problem with using a word incorrectly to make a pause. Better to go “um,” or even better to pause until you know what you intend to say.

[remember this is Pedant’s corner! :smiley: ]

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