This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Ahead of the game: a rant.

Yes, yes, I know, I know! Language changes.

As if has now more often than become like, as in it looked like the flowers were weeping - and it doesn't really matter...except in that example, obviously...still. A few deep breaths and perhaps a short meditation course and I lurch on through life practically unscathed.

But even so...

I got this the other day from the Kindle people:

Dear KDP* Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book.

Now I know that nowadays a lot of the time ahead of is used instead of before. Ahead of can mean in front of, too, and that's not a problem. But if something happens ahead of something else then the two things have to be connected in some way. You do x ahead of y because otherwise y won't happen.

We erected the marquee ahead of the wedding is ghastly, but it does at least make sense (though, please note, in a ghastly sort of a way)...

...actually, do you know something? I'm not even convincing myself. Before. Use before. I mean, it has fewer letters. Fewer words, too. It takes up less space.

And it will make people much much less likely to let out an anguished gargling scream and press DELETE when they come across it in an email.

Well, it'd work with me, anyway.

Artwork by Jon Bogdanove. If Superman's tights go on ahead of his underpants doesn't that mean they should arrive first?

Word To Use Today As Long As You Do It Properly: ahead. The head bit of this word comes from the Old English hēafod.

*Kindle Direct Publishing.

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