Monday, 21 May 2012

The name's Res... Des Res


single storey detatched with far-reaching views
Words are great, aren’t they?  They can seduce, they can reduce the hardest of hearts to what our American friends would call Jello; they can construct, de-construct and they can transport us to places we've never been to, never heard of and lead us to destinations that only exist in the the writer's mind.
And we all wouldn’t be here - and by ‘here’ I mean on the Strictly Writing site - if we weren’t in love with the written word, would we? 
We ALL LOVE words *group hug*.

Okay that’s the preamble over with.  And isn’t PREAMBLE a great word? 

(preamble [priːˈæmbəl]n
1.     a preliminary or introductory statement, esp attached to a statute or constitution setting forth its purpose

So it makes unutterably good sense to me that I care about what words I say, how I say them, how they are said to me and how they are laid out to construct meaning and create atmosphere. I still pick people up when they say a soft ‘huh-aitch’ when spelling out a word with an ‘H’ in it.  I can’t help it; it’s one of those colossal bugbears that really grates on my sensitive Writerly nerves – like the fingernails down a chalkboard *can’t say blackboard anymore… sigh* - and now I’m over the hill, it seems I can speak my mind about a lot more things, because people of a ‘certain age’ are expected to be irritable buggers. Much like crabbity indifferent Doctor’s Receptionists, for example.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes.  The Aitch word becoming an eff word. 

But, like any other Wordsmith, I do enjoy seeing those misplaced apostrophe sign’s (see what I did there?) – at least I like them now there’s Facebook and Twitter because it makes me feel less anally retentive when I get all privately hot under the collar by their misuse.  Jeez the weight I must’ve lost in the past, before the advent of social networking sites, when I’d spot a sign that said ‘vegetable’s for sale’ or *shudder* ‘bargain book’s.  My spleen was never more relieved than the dawn of this technological age where everyone shares everything with everybody else whether they want to or not.

So it understandably confounds me that people who are being PAID as part of their job to WRITE stuff for general public consumption are allowed to use words that are misspelt, or written to mislead and entice in ways they really shouldn’t be.

Of course by ‘People’ I mean Estate Agents.  Of course I do.  And by ‘General Public’ I mean my husband.  Oh - and me.  Alright then – just ME!

I know it’s not meant to be great literature and I know it’s not exactly a job which requires the firmest grasp on the basic use of the English language, but.. well…  I am maddened beyond belief to report that the following details seem entirely acceptable to use in the land of Estate Agent:

The property enjoys gas central heating and

The property enjoys a South facing garden. Really?  Can an inanimate object enjoy anything?  Really?

The property delights in a rural location. Well, that’s nice for it - wouldn’t we all?

The property boasts superb pitch roofed outbuildings. On actual inspection, the only factually correct word in this sentence was 'property'.  I don’t know anybody – not least a building – that would boast about having an outside toilet and attached coal bunker, especially if neither doors opened due to the jamming of beds and/or wheelbarrows from within.  This description has, I noticed, changed on the particulars since I pointed out the vagaries of its veracities whilst trying to extricate my foot from an errant mattress spring and ducking out the way of a falling tile.

There is a garage en bloc. This, I have noticed, is quite a popular term to use these days for ‘there is a garage in a block round the corner’ but is meant to sound fancier, like it’s in deepest rural Brittany and not the arse-end-of-nowhere-near-the-house.

But I did come across a description that plucked at a heart string or two as I read them; evidently written by somebody who has more things than monthly commission on their mind:
“The soft neutral schemed bathroom is perfect for relaxing in after a hard day at work, and with the kitchen on the same level it means that the chilled wine isn’t far from reach….
..Imagine curling up in front of the roaring open fire on a chilly winter’s night or entertaining guests on the block paved sun-trapped rear garden which enjoys* panoramic views to the countryside beyond….”

This person is clearly overpaid as an Estate Agent.  They should be struggling to find a Literary Agent and tearing their hair out in Rejection Hell like the rest of us. 

Actually, it's making me think of a career change - if I got paid to make up lovely little scenes like this for the general public, wouldn't that be one step closer to proper recognition?
 
*I let them off this one minor indiscretion


8 comments:

Sandra Davies said...

A four-foot high, plastic poster-on-a-frame with (I think) a Spice Girl or some such on it in full colour, boasted 'world-renowened' something or other - I never got beyond this - and despite my complaining the staff a) weren't sure whether I was grumpy or correct and/or b) had no power/didn't care enough to get it changed.
(and thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell someone who will know what I'm on about)

Derek said...

A great piece of writing to start off my working week. There must be an Estate Agent school somewhere, a little like Hogwarts, where they learn the mysterious arts of fudging, mangling and exalting.

However, I've had many a chuckle at this estate agent in Glastonbury, who takes a very different approach...
http://www.ralphbending.com/

Maybe Des Res ought to mean Deserves Respect!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Blimey, it's bad enough house-hunting without having to bear grammatical errors as well. But that's Hestate Hagents for ya.
Susiex

Derek said...

Huh-ha, huh-ha, Susie!

Debs Riccio said...

It's the way they embelish their details that gets my goat, Susie! Just this morning I asked if a property had a fireplace and was told that it "had a place you could certainly put a fire" *du-ur*

Marilyn said...

Hi Debs,
Thanks so much for the laugh!
Just a couple of tiny teeny weeny points…. since this post is about correct grammatical use …
I think this sentence should say ‘it’, rather than ‘them’ at the end?
“But I did come across a description that plucked at a heart string or two as I read them …”
And – embellish has two ‘Ls’. SO sorry. And my excuse, should you require one, is that I’m brushing up on my English language skills as a precursor to my next hare-brained scheme! :) xx

Derek said...

I think you've awoken my inner obsessive, Marilyn.

Isn't the use of 'them' correct because it refers to 'written by somebody'?

Right, time for fennel tea and a nap.

Debs Riccio said...

Oh dear, Marilyn, aren't I a numpty... I think I deleted my 'sentences' word and left the 'them' at the end... d'oh! and you can say embellish but I'll always say embelish, me! :/