Take Cover

bluetouchpaperIf there’s one thing guaranteed to light my blue touch paper…  okay let me back up here. There are MANY things that light my blue touch paper but in particular, recently, it’s people who say ‘haitch’.  I’m not alone in this, which gives me some comfort though not a lot.  There’s  been quite a correspondence about it in that redoubt of English conservatism, The Daily Telegraph. Still, all very well for Despondent of Virginia Water to complain. I’ll bet he can go an entire week without being ‘haitched’. Where I live, in the Republic of Ireland, ‘haitching’ is a national sport. It goes on in the north too. I’ve heard it suggested that you can tell an Ulsterman’s religion by what he does with the letter H: Prods say ‘aitch’, Catholics say ‘haitch.’

What’s to be done about it? Offhand I can’t think of anything. But isn’t it good to get things off your chest? So while I’m at it let me also condemn The Wandering X.  Why is it that people who seem incapable of inserting an x into the word ‘sixth’, (thus rendering it ‘sickth’) insist on using it in ‘espresso.’  Yes ‘espresso’ is an Italian word, but so is ‘pizza’ and you manage to pronounce that. All together now, ‘I’d like a double eSpresso.’

Am I done? Not quite. Might as well do a thorough download while I’m about it.  There are two Cs in arctic, there is no ‘aitch’ nor even ‘haitch’ in ‘assume’  and the place you go to borrow books (if they still have any) is called a library. Not a liberry. If you call it a liberry I cannot be answerable for my actions.

I feel so much better now.


  1. heather on November 1, 2014 at 3:15 am

    I agree, especially with ‘liberry’ I want to slap people who say ‘liberry’ My own dearest husband occasionally says haitch and blames it on his education at the hands of Australian Catholic brothers here in NZ, Apparently they would also bring a television into the classroom to watch the Melbourne cup………

  2. Anne Bond on November 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Oh God yes…..could I please add those who say ‘pacific’ when they mean ‘specific’ to your slap list? And is being fussy about pronouncing the ‘d’ in Wednesday a step too far?

  3. PennyPincher on November 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Don’t get me started on “could of” “should of” . . .
    Anne Bond you’re just ahead of me on “pacific” – it’s surprisingly common
    And what has happened to adverbs? – rarely used nowadays as people go ‘private’ if not using NHS e.g.
    Appalling standards English on TV – with commentators muddling fast/faster/fastest with quick/quicker/quickest along with ‘between you and I’ ‘him and me’ ‘me and her’ and another thing that annoys me is . . . . . *goes off ranting*

    Sorry mustn’t get carried away. But I was very sorry to hear about the “man shot in the Bristol area” (sounds very painful)

  4. PennyPincher (my Pen Name) on November 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    My biggest bugbear is the unnecessary word ’got’
    You either have something or you don’t have . . .

    I just have not got patience with those what have got it

    Get it?

    Got it!


  5. Anne Bond on November 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Oh dear – I blame PennyPincher – I’ve just remembered a whole new area of dreadfulness….mixing singular/group nouns with singular/group verb forms….

    ‘The Government are about to announce….’ etc. etc. et bloody cetera….

  6. Nessie Poston on November 29, 2014 at 12:03 am

    What about ‘sec-et-ary’? Its just laziness. Don’t people have ears to hear that they are wrong, wrong, wrong?

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