Expressions which will seem dated in 50 years time? (Possibly distressing for pedants).

(57 Posts)
MardyBra Tue 28-Jan-14 18:36:00

I sometimes wonder which expressions will win out.

When I'm older and greyer will it seem weird and anachronistic to say:

Could have/Would have/Should have
Texted (although texting probably won't exist any more)
Disgusting?

chateauferret Sun 02-Mar-14 14:49:20

I'm not sure "shall" will be around forever, at least in some dialects. I know a lot of people in England who never use it and only use "will". It has a useful distinct meaning though, especially in the second person. "You shall have a cake for tea, but just now you will go to school".

Fowler says to think of the two verbs cross-conjugated, IIRC. "Shall" conjugates "I will, you shall, he shall", connoting obtaining some benefit or carrying out some intention, whereas "will" conjugates "I shall, you will, he will", and connotes 'whether we like it or not'.

I write requirements for IT systems and I use the two verbs differently in a quite precise way. "Shall" means something this project is required to do and which is being paid for. "Will" means it will happen anyway and we must handle that. "The customer base will grow from 1 million in 2012 to 2 million in 2015. The system shall scale to meet the corresponding demand".

"Shall" seem to enjoy wider use in Scotland than England though.

HoratiaDrelincourt Sun 02-Mar-14 14:56:13

English people are often startled or muddled by Scottish will/shall in my experience.

Scotsman: "Will I put the kettle on?"
Englishman: "I don't know, will you?"
Both parties: confused

chateauferret Wed 05-Mar-14 19:12:40

Here's one from the local NHS Board. DS2's name is obviously masculine, you would have to be on glue to think he might possibly be a girl. Verbatim:

"DS2 was seen at school today for their Height and weight .Their height was x and their weight was y."

Aaaaaargh donk donk donk

And breathe...

chateauferret Wed 05-Mar-14 19:17:33

Horatia yes I recognise that - in England that's always a shall. I've been up here 15 years and live in a house full of Scottish people and I still can't get that one right smile

Of course the Scots have another excellent modal verb for situations like this which is "gauny" grin

cricketpitch Thu 13-Mar-14 22:40:57

Fortnight. We always used to talk about a "fortnight's holiday" - because that's what you had. I used it with the DCs at breakfast the other day and neither understood it.

JessieMcJessie Tue 01-Apr-14 13:00:46

chateau I am the opposite - 22 years away from Scotland, in England or predominantly English expat communities all that time and I absolutely can't say "shall" in any context without thinking I sound like The Queen! And I would add that I am very well spoken, just very Scottishly well spoken. I didn't even notice that "will I send the letter?" sounded odd to English ears until I had been in England for 9 years and my boss pointed it out!

Bubblybint Thu 08-May-14 18:58:56

Amendments seems to have been replaced by 'amends'. It's no longer a conscious abbreviation at work. Am always amused by all these people making amends all day...

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