Tenses matter in times of life and death

Confusion for me this morning on reading a newspaper headline about the coronavirus: “China coronavirus cases might have been four times official figure”, according to a study in Hong Kong. What? Are they saying that the Chinese have saved thousands of lives by some kind of intervention we haven’t heard about? That doesn’t seem to […]

Nounitis on the train

Just as I had settled into my seat on the train and was looking forward to a good breakfast, a voice announced that there would be no restaurant trolley coming down the train “due to a shortfall in staffing levels”. What had happened? The announcement gave nothing away. Those dull abstract nouns “shortfall” and “levels” […]