A recent tweet by @OxfordWords on the subject of clichés reminded me how annoying the language used by most TV and radio weather forecasters is. Here are some common clichés that have me shouting at the screen or the radio:-
“wall to wall” – as in “wall to wall sunshine”
“it’s not all doom and gloom”
“from the word go”
“in charge” – as in “wet weather will be in charge”
“while you’re out and about”
“temperatures will plummet”
“spits and spots” – of rain, presumably meaning occasional light rain
“watch out for” – as in “watch out for those showers”
“disappointing temperatures” – who are you to tell me what temperatures I feel most comfortable in?
Not really clichés but still annoying:-
“always” – as in “temperatures will always be lower in the east”
“old” – as in “it’ll be a windy old day”
And one I heard a few days ago —
“watch out if you bump into one of those showers”
So it’s disappointing temperatures in the west, and watch out for those spits and spots of rain while you’re out and about. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In the east it’ll be wall to wall sunshine with high pressure always in charge from the word go.
Why do they do it? I can only think that by adopting this “chatty” style they want to present themselves as one of us, the viewers/listeners, who are ordinary people who talk in clichés and would be put off by “experts” just giving the facts. I find it élitist, patronising and grossly unprofessional, as well as being downright annoying.
How many more we can add to the list?
(added 18 Feb):
“at a premium” – as in “any brightness will be at a premium” meaning “it will be cloudy most of the day”
“waiting in the wings” – as in “there’s more bad news waiting in the wings” meaning “there’s more rain coming”. And while I’m on the subject, value judgements have no place in professional meteorology. Rain isn’t “bad news”, it’s rain.
(added 25 Feb):
“wet weather knocking on the doorsteps of London” – Dan Corbett, BBC Radio5live, 12:30 25/02/11