Pet Hate Territory

It was the thought of using the word “nice” that sparked off my first ever proper bloggero.

There are various words or expressions that make my skin not just creep but turn into crepe paper. To make me scream with rage say “I was sat…” or “I am sat…”. Yes: the cat sat on the mat, or it was sitting on the mat but never, ever it is acceptable to say “the cat was sat on the mat”. Nor was/is anybody sat on the mat. It seems to have slunk into acceptable speech (a radio reporter said “I am sat” repeatedly the other day). It is very lazy and, to this middle-aged creature, absolutely intolerable. (I suppose on Twitter, with the constraints of 140 characters, it’s just about bearable but it still makes me cringe in a crepey way.)

That’s that rant. The next one is the use of nice.

I am allergic to nice. It is not descriptive. It means nothing. I remember my English teacher telling me that it showed a great lack of imagination to describe something as “nice” when there were millions of words available to describe something: that has stuck. My English teacher was also a great family friend and I spent a lot of time with her way beyond schooldays; when I went to stay, my thank you letters afterwards became a running joke, the adjectives becoming evermore obscure as I avoided the nice word. My Nice Allergy was b0rn a long time ago: it’s not going away.

And, finally, thank you is two words. I received a letter the other day (in itself, a moment of enormous excitement) which began Thankyou for my birthday present. I suppose the only good thing is that the recipient of the present didn’t go on to say it was a nice book and that she was sat beside the fire reading it.

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