Newspapers, in both their digital and former-tree versions, are full of things that happened.
That’s why they’re called newspapers, right? And not storypapers or imaginary scenario papers.
However, they often like to describe events in language that only they themselves ever use, which means nobody ever does the things they describe in real life.
Here are ten examples.
As in “The commander-in-chief blasted ‘loser terrorists’ in his speech at the United Nations”.
It really just means “mentioned” or “commented on”, but gussied up like this it sounds like he took his copper-jacketed words and fired them right into the cowardly terrorists’ faces.
You try blasting someone with the good old English language though. Do you think they’ll fall over, or run and hide?
- “Hit out”
As in “The Prime Minister has hit out at Boris Johnson’s provocative and unwelcome remarks.”
Another way of making “commented upon” read like a martial art.
But much as she’d like to, Prime Minister May will never black Boris’s flabby eye with her comments.
As in “Jamie Oliver’s latest restaurant has been slammed by customers who say the service is ‘abysmal’.”
From the same family of Language Which Fancies Itself As A Bit Tasty as 1. and 2., “slammed” is all about making your complaint sound a lot noisier and more aggressive.
Except no one ever calls Virgin Trains and says “I’d like to slam your feeble service” or, were it possible to ever get in touch with Ryanair, the poor individual at the call centre if he is ready for the slamming of his life.
As in “*add name of reality star* daringly flaunted her curves on her Russian boyfriend’s superyacht.”
Also known as “wore a swimsuit”.
The day a trip to the beach becomes “Shall we go and daringly flaunt our curves?” is still a way off.
- “Lift the lid”
As in “FA embarrassed as FIFA lift lid on World Cup bid”.
Note that it is “lift” ie heavy, muscular and vaguely heroic, and not “take off”, which is what you typically do with lids.
- “Open up”
As in “Prince Harry has urged men to open up about their problems”
You can make it sound as dramatic and sunshiny as you like, but it’s never going to be any more Hollywood than plain old “talk about”.
- “Linked with”
As “Leonardo di Caprio has been linked with a string of models.”
“Would you like to link with me?” said nobody, ever.
- “Struggle to contain ones assets”
As in “Busty Celebrity Big Brother contestant struggles to contain her assets on a Spanish beach.”
Making the battle for supremacy between a bikini and a large breast sound like part of nature’s perpetual conflict is a piece of inspired newspaper euphemism, but whatever it is, it’s not struggling.
- “Showcase your pins”
As in “Beyonce showcases her prize-worthy pins in couture black mini-skirt.”
She has a valuable collection of badges in an interesting cabinet? No, of course not.
But “wears clothes, has legs and has been spotted by photographers” doesn’t quite accelerate the click-throughs either.
- “Show off your funny side without make up”
Sounds easy (“Showing off your funny side” = pulling a stupid face, without make up = without make up) but you try doing it without a photographer present. Did it happen?