Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cliché Régime*

Just been reminded of another weekend quality supplement columnist cliché that really makes my teeth crawl. And that is when London-based hacks put a "the" before the names of certain streets. Like the Finchley Road, and the Portobello Road. That might have been OK in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's day, but now it's just horrible, affected** and grating. Cease and desist this instant!


*stands back in anticipation of pitchforks, brickbats, burning planks, etc.*


* I know, I'm sorry. That's why I'm going on that sub-editing course.
** I know, I'm sorry. Pot, kettle, etc.

6 comments:

Pashmina said...

Oh dear. You've now got me wondering whether or not I say "the" Finchley Road to cab drivers.

Arguably it could be "the [insert name here] Road" in examples such as Uxbridge, Finchley, Old Kent etc on the basis that the roads lead, in theory, to the places. Which is why the likes of Portobello should *never* have a definite article, because they're just names.

On the other hand, you may well be right and the whole shameful affectation may be utterly inexcusable. Clearly I'm not the person to ask.

patroclus said...

I know, I know you're right. What I really meant to say was "this turn of phrase really bugs me, but for no good reason."

And I don't know if I've actually ever heard anyone say "the Portobello Road". But if they did, I know I wouldn't like it.

cello said...

I have no idea whether I say "Take me to the Finchley Road, please, good taxi driver"; I certainly don't say, "the Oxford Street". But how ingenious of you to find something annoying that I had blithely accepted all my life.

Now, when/if you have children you will be unable to do what any normal pedantic perfectionist does, which is to focus on the imperfect and fail to take any pleasure in the whole until all details are correct.

Modern childcare wisdom says you must only see the positive. Praise to excess the child's feeble attempts at laying the table, laud to the skies their execrable rendition of "What Shall We Do With A drunken Sailor". It's hell.

Just imagine how tedious blogs would be if we had to follow that rule.

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