Haitch I J K ElEmEnOwePea

Aside from the existential question of whether it can ever be right for the name of a letter to be spelled using the very letter the name is describing, which feels very much like it’s at risk of establishing some kind of pattern flaw in the fabric of the universe, is pronouncing the name of a letter really so difficult? Why has aitch become haitch?

Haitch appears to overcompensate for accusations that one may drop one’s aitches, by putting an extra one in, just in case. It’s a pre-emptive strike, so that cockneys, people from Yorkshire, and other heavy users of the dropped ‘h’ can drop it without fear of having an audible gap in the alphabet.

Thick idiots.




If you haven’t found ‘x’ or if you haven’t got something dissolved in water, it’s not a solution.

Oh look, here comes yet another provincial company with a jarring byline suggesting that they offer ‘retail snacking solutions’ or ‘window commissioning solutions’, when really we all know the only thing they’ve got in the back of the van is some ‘display units for crisps’ and some ‘replacement windows’, respectively.

A glorious bit of newspeak, ‘solution’ is used to describe everything from shelving to food to software to hardware to data to logistics to vapourware* – any product or service at all, real or still imagined, where a sense of tricky problem solving needs to be conjured up.

Created by the same type of mindset that hilariously created arcane job titles from mundane professions (“vitreous enamel technician – ha ha”), solutions are prevalent and out of control. Even when the requirement might be nothing more than a replacement length of copper piping, expertly welded into place, someone somewhere will declare it a plumbing solution.

*not a thing

Being proactive


Inane business speak has given us many things, usually borrowed from psychology and twisted out of shape, but ‘being proactive’ is probably the most unnecessary of them.

Not content to just ‘do’ something, or to do something actively, ‘proactive’ confers a sort of active activity onto whatever is being done. An additional layer of urgency and involvement. Taking active to a whole new, enthusiastic, level. Make it stop.

So nowadays, customer marketing is invariably described as proactive. “We are proactively contacting our customers” distinguishes itself from other ways of making contact, such as lazily, inactively or just not at all. It’s one of those words whose very existence is unnecessary, catered for adequately by the same word without the first syllable.

Ah, but it’s intended as the opposite of ‘reactive’ isn’t it? I’m afraid that just makes it worse.

Active marketing of those customers would look exactly the same. And therefore being proactive isn’t a thing.

Way, shape or form


The shape or form bits aren’t usually a thing.

If there is only a fixed number of moments before we draw our final breath, a limit to the number of beats our hearts will ever make, why on earth would we waste a single precious second using the expression “not in any way, shape or form”?

For starters, it’s about 50% longer than it needs to be: “in any way” would appear to do an adequate job. Three wasted words here and there soon add up to an awful lot of things that made no sense at all. Then there’s the whole jarring wrongness of it. Shapes and forms? What are you on about? You’re meant to be talking about ways!

Neither eloquent nor evocative, ‘way, shape or form’ is a life-sapping, time-consuming piece of sentence-stultifying clutter, which serves only to fill the time between now and your impending death with even more pointlessly-meaningless words. Not unlike this blog.

The ‘White Paper’


If anyone other than the government writes a ‘white paper’, that is not a thing.

Hardly a week goes by without some wearisome corporate connection announcing via Linked In that you can download their company’s latest thinly-veiled advertising splurge, wrapped up in the language of research and consultation, of legalese and authority, offering their seldom-rational thoughts on some “issue” of great importance.

Yes, they’ve issued a White Paper. How my heart sings. It’d be nice if people who actually knew were they were talking about weren’t as rare as hens’ teeth. These days, the white paper is the de-facto means of marketing the suggestion that you have some ill thought through idea to promote, cleverly disguising the fact that you’re trying to sell something by talking in very general terms about your company’s experience in the field, whilst only giving the vaguest hint that readers may like to part with loads of money to get you to do it for them. The best white papers will subtly slag off the competition by pointing out how they’ve got it completely wrong, whilst trying to sound nice and inclusive about it.

Of course, white papers are only ever written by the junior marketing intern based on a twenty minute phone call with whichever hair-brained corporate drone has the job of jumping on the latest industry bandwagon.

So. White Papers. Not a thing unless they’re setting out government legislation. Otherwise they’re just yet more corporate landfill.