Some words and phrases bother me. I know they shouldn’t. I know I should let them slide by graciously. But sometimes I can’t help myself.
I have developed a bit of a thing.
Take “without further ado”. People generally say this when they have waffled on for too long by way of an introduction and they realise they have got to get the main event going.
“And without further ado, I do declare that the Little PiddleHampton-in-the-Basin summer fete is now open.”
We all have a vague idea of what “without further ado” means. Or do we? If we can be without “further ado” surely we can also be with “further ado”. And I have no idea what that means.
For that matter, I’m not too sure about “ado”. Can it be used in any sentence other than “much ado about nothing” and “without further ado”?
“Ruthless” is another one that puzzles me. Can we be “ruthful”? The internet says we can:
Ruthful is indeed a word that derives from an old definition of ruth meaning “the quality of being compassionate.” But unpaired negatives, like ruthless, unkempt, uncouth, or disgruntled, are common words that lack positive correlatives in common speech.
I quite like the idea of “unpaired negatives”. They sound like the Billy-no-mates of the dictionary. The sad singlies who can’t go to the party because they have no-one to go with.
Mind you, that’s not the funniest thing I’ve seen today. I couldn’t help noticing Her Majesty’s hat at today’s State Opening of Parliament.
On a day when the Government announces its legislation for leaving the EU, is our monarch trying to tell us something by wearing a hat that looks like the flag of the European Parliament?
I know, I know. You’re going to tell me that is much ado about nothing. And you’d probably be right.