This is what I says

Jan 18, 2017
Has anyone noticed the very annoying trend to place all reported speech into the present tense? We see it all the time in press releases from, presumably, trend-setting PR agencies with W1 addresses.

We even have some of our clients insisting that we use the style when writing their press releases.  Ask a thrusting young PR executive, straight out of university (presumably having graduated in something irrelevant) what it’s all about and they will tell you it’s to give the piece more energy, to make it ‘of the moment’, about what’s happening now.  No it’s not!  It’s wrong!

“We are delighted that Monica Smith has joined our company,” says Fred Jones, Managing Director.  Does he?  What, all the time?  Does he say it on the tube, in the bath, while having dinner with his wife or breakfast with his children?  I bet he’s a riot when it all goes quiet in the snug of The Chequers.  Of course he doesn’t.  He said it once, in the past, when briefing the PR department.  Of course we all know that he didn’t do that either, the PR department made it up … but I digress.  I wonder what Bernard Cribbins might think if he had to reword his famous ditty, Right says Fred

I see so much of this nonsense that it must be the way people are taught nowadays. Probably Harvard has decreed it, so this is the way it shall be.  I don’t think so.  We have to put up with so much rubbish as our English language is continually bombarded with modernisms, some of which become accepted and some don’t.  I don’t object.  The global success of the language is largely owing to its ability to evolve.  But this?  No thank you.  We might be old fashioned here, but at least we can hold our heads up high in the knowledge that what we write, makes sense.  Well, that’s what I says anyway.

Steve Jordan
Managing Director

Steve Jordan, Managing Director, The Words Workshop