cancelled but not cancelled

When thinking of words which don’t mean the same in English as they do in most other languages, a classic example is “control”. But “cancel” is an example that hadn’t occurred to me before. A couple of days ago there was an orienteering race in Sweden and because of some technical difficulties the results of the race were voided. The race wasn’t “cancelled” however, because if it had been, it wouldn’t’ve taken place. I suppose the usual English term in these situations is “declare null and void”.


How many is most?

Following on (finally) from the previous maths-related post, I saw this in an Edexcel maths exam paper:

May 2013 002

Question (a) is “How did most of the students travel to school?” My answer was “by vehicle”, since car+cycle+bus = 55%. But the maths teacher told me the correct answer is “walk” since it’s the largest piece of pie. Apparently, maths teachers speak a different language from the rest of us.

word of the day: femmephobia

I admit it: I’m not very interested in the debates that seem to rage around feminism. There doesn’t seem too much to it to me other than that sexists, misogynists, MCPs and patriarchalists are dicks. Because of this lack of interest it’s not surprising that I haven’t heard the term “femmephobia” before. I’ve just seen it here, and I read elsewhere on Skepchick that it’s “a particular subset of sexism that suggests that femininity and things regarded as feminine are inherently inferior, bad, weak, stupid, non-preferable, valueless, disempowering, etc.” So you’d be very unlikely to see a femmephobic (or his* son*) wearing pink.

Femmephobia is a silly word, but I’m against the femmephobics.

*Thinking about it, I suppose femmephobics can also be women, and femmephobics might not want their daughters wearing pink either. Femmephobia must be different from insisting that both sexes adhere to their repsective stereotypes. What’s the word for that? Is that just sexism?

Facebook ambiguity

At the bottom of your Facebook timeline it says “See more recent stories.” Really, they ought to remove the word “recent” since as it is it appears to mean something that isn’t true. If you click, you don’t see stories that are more recent, you see further back in the timeline.

fab recent

You know what I mean…

A recent article begins: “Those less intimate with Hungarian political culture should be aware of the significance of March 15th and October 23rd.” Now, although I think we all realise what the author means, she is in fact saying the opposite. This is a kind of rhetorical ellipsis, I suppose, for “should be made aware” or “should make themselves aware”. In speaking, one can get away with infelicities like this, but when you see it written down it jumps out at you. Unless you’re the author or editor, of course.