The sorry state of rampant euphemisms

Since the beginning of this year, the world has witnessed one historic event after another. First came the uprising in Tunisia, followed by mass protests in several countries in the Middle East.

Thursday, 21 April, 2011, 12:00am

Mind your language

Mind your language

The TVB show Sunday Report has recently been examining new phrases which are becoming popular on the internet.

Young people like to use these informal terms. This may be because older people don't recognise them, so the phrases set them apart.

I use these trendy words, but I realise there are two major problems with doing so.

21 May 2009 - 12:00am

Phrases that keep you in the loop

Hone your office language skills

It's virtually impossible to work with native English speakers without hearing phrases such as 'touch base', 'out of the loop' and 'jumping through hoops'. These are examples of management speak, a sort of sub-language, used inside and outside the workplace. In this article I will focus on the meaning of some phrases and how to use them.

8 Mar 2008 - 12:00am

Word Power

Match the following words with their meanings on the right.

1. penchant

2. avalanche

3. vanguard

4. jeers

5. hedonistic

6. foisting

a. pioneer; leader in a movement or field

b. a belief that pleasure should be the main aim in life

c. a strong liking for something

5 Feb 2007 - 12:00am

Language point

Every year the clock goes back in Dublin to the fictional 'Bloomsday' of June 16, 1904 depicted in the novel Ulysses by the city's most celebrated author.

In the above sentence, 'celebrated' means famous. But 'celebratory' refers to something that is organised to celebrate an important event.

21 Jun 2005 - 12:00am

Language point

Residents of this remote village founded by runaway slaves have languished on the fringes of Brazilian society.

Prepositions are often used in phrases to express particular meanings, like on the fringes, which means

the edges of a place. The preposition 'on' can be used in other ways.

24 May 2005 - 12:00am

Specific virtues of generalisation

There is no such thing as 'Chinese culture' or 'American culture'. China and the US are political entities comprising as many different perspectives on life as they do ethnic groups, family units or even people. Yet, if one wants to talk about cultures at all, one invariably falls to generalising.

12 Feb 2005 - 12:00am

Language point

'Out' words

The following words begin with the prefix 'out-' . Look up the meanings of the ones you do not know and put each into one of the sentences below.

outlook ; outdoors; outbreak; outcome; outburst; outset; outspoken; outlay

1. The ______ we need to start the business is at least five million dollars.

7 Apr 2004 - 12:00am

Language point

Sometimes words have two meanings and you have to look at the whole sentence to see which one is correct. Which meaning is the right one in these sentences?

1. I can't see a thing because I have broken my GLASSES. (a. Something you drink out of; b. something that corrects bad eyesight)

7 Jan 2004 - 12:00am

Immense tasks still lie ahead

I EXTEND my heartiest greetings to my countrymen on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of our Independence and National Day.

On this joyful occasion, we are fully conscious of the deep sense of obligation we owe to the memory of those living and dead, whose vision, dedication and sacrifice have made the observance of this day possible.

26 Mar 1993 - 12:00am