Ah, the decline of the English language. It’s been well reported, for decades, that we are losing the nuance and delicacy of it: that our witless children, encouraged by their feckless parents and their tie-dye-wearing, there-are-no-right-or-wrong-answers hippie teachers, are debasing it. Soon – how soon, no one can say, but surely it cannot be many years – there will be no means of communicating at all: there will be just the two words, “Whatever” and “Innit?”, forced to cover all the next generation’s intended meanings, from “May I please have a Filet O Fish meal, supersized” to “Let us have unprotected sex immediately, and then raise the child on benefits”.
My colleague Peter Mullen, who cares about such things, has drawn our attention to some of the latest indignities inflicted upon our mother tongue. “They say, ‘I was sat’ when they mean ‘I was sitting.’ They say, ‘I was stood’ when they intend – insofar as such thickos are capable of intending anything – ‘I was standing,’” he sighs; the first of his list.