Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

From here to obscurity

with 3 comments

A calf in England.
Image via Wikipedia

Cows calve. That is, they give birth to calves. So do Alaskan glaciers. Or so you might think after reading the full page ad for cruises placed by Holland America Line in the latest John Lewis magazine. Apparently, I can look forward to ‘The sound of a calving Alaskan glacier from my own private verandah’.

Don’t worry — I looked it up so you don’t have to. And yes — ‘calving’ can refer to a mass of ice splitting away from a glacier. But that’s one weird word to use in an advert, isn’t it? And what about that reference to a ‘private verandah’ as being the best place to listen to the glacier’s ‘calving’ activity? Not so good if you’re perambulating on the public deck then? So many questions, so little time.

Did I book a cruise? No.

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Written by Wordwatch

16/11/2009 at 4:54 pm

3 Responses

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  1. The cruise doesn’t sound too bad. I picture myself on a private veranda, taking in the scenery while having a decalf coffee.

    Michael Farrell

    10/02/2010 at 8:46 pm

    • Ho, ho. I’ll have something with (recently calved) ice in.

      Btw — I was about to put my dunce cap on and stand in the corner for ten minutes because I thought I must have spelt ‘verandah’ incorrectly. But in fact it can be ‘verandah’ or ‘veranda’. Phew.

      Deborah

      10/02/2010 at 8:53 pm

  2. If you spell it with an H, you get to say it with a toffy accent or a genteel Southern drawl (your choice), as befits the piece of architecture.

    Michael Farrell

    10/02/2010 at 9:21 pm


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