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Rees-Mogg Style Guide
Posted: 26 July 2019 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]
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For your delectation…

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1158359/Jacob-Rees-Mogg-style-guide-staff-grammar-leader-of-house-of-commons

JACOB REES-MOGG has issued his staff in his new office with a style guide which bans them from using certain words and ensures their grammar is correct.

The new Leader of the House of Commons issued the style guide in the first week of his job. The Brexiteer said that organisations must be singular, there should be a double space after fullstops and staff should use imperial measurements.

jacob-rees-mogg-bans-words-imperial-measurements-leader-of-house-of-commons-westminster-1690784.png

jacob-rees-mogg-bans-words-imperial-measurements-leader-of-house-of-commons-westminster-1690791.png

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Posted: 26 July 2019 09:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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These are png images so there is no way to “quote” them except by using the image. It’s a leaked document, so hard to get a text version. But (dare I insert a comma after the “but”?), for what it’s worth, this from the Guardian [note the comma after the “and”:

He is an Old Etonian, like the prime minister he serves, and, like the prime minister he serves, has cultivated a reputation for formality and upper-class eccentricity, gaining the nickname the “honourable member for the 18th century”. When standing for the Conservatives for the Central Fife seat in 1997, he took his nanny and his mother’s Mercedes out canvassing.

Rees-Mogg has also used his position of influence to argue against abortion, even in cases of rape, and same-sex marriage.

He has been one of the most prominent backers of a hard Brexit and, last year, it was revealed that a City firm he co-founded had set up an investment fund in Ireland and was warning prospective clients about the financial dangers of a hard Brexit.

Sounds like a fun guy!

On “organizations are singular” will the queen have to stop using “My Government are ....”

[ Edited: 26 July 2019 09:22 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 27 July 2019 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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’Full stop’ has always been two words. There are some strange banned words in there.

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Posted: 27 July 2019 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The list of banned words is very odd.  Some are standard fare for such lists, but others are surprising.  Perhaps this is a Pondian thing.  Do British peevers complain about “yourself” and"speculate"? 

The mandate that organizations are singular is also striking, as this is a standard difference between British and American English.  It hardly seems likely that he in mandating an American construction because it is American.  Is this a class marker in British English?

Finally, this guy is also a would-be historian.  He seems to be aiming to be like Winston Churchill and ending up more like Newt Gingrich.  I commend the “more on this story” articles on the Guardian site.

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Posted: 28 July 2019 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dear Mr Rees-Mogg Esq. M.P.,

I am pleased to learn of your ongoing campaign against unacceptable behaviours. Hopefully you will be equal to the task and, not meet with disappointment. However while I understand your concerns, I am forced to speculate that it may be yourself that is no longer fit for purpose.

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Posted: 28 July 2019 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hi Jake! Welcome, dude*!

Hey, we get it - we’re grammar freaks, too, so hope you appreciate this advice from a fellow pedant.  Chill, man, chill! Sometimes we all get carried away and use too many meaningless words, but, hey! As long as folks understand the meaning, it’s all cool! And if you want to remind us of times past by using Esquire, that’s okay, too.

I don’t think you’ll find too many “fit for purpose"s or the like in this forum, but if you do, dude, bear with the poor illiterate author - he or she is probably new to the forum and won’t last beyond his or her first post. We’re on your side!

If I’ve used any of your banned terms, please repost with the errors marked in red.

See ya around!

Eliza

xxx

*Dude is okay because our new PM used it in his pre-election speech.

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Posted: 28 July 2019 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Might as well go through all of these, point by point.

“Organisation are SINGULAR”.

The use of all-caps is considered to be shouting, and will often be taken as a sign of derangement. Use sparingly.
Regarding the choice of plural or singular for organisations, most guides indicate that you can choose either, but don’t flip-flop within a document. It seems fair enough for JRM to make this choice as a house style.

“All non-titled males - Esq.”

Completely fucking barmy and fogeyish, and you’ll make your staff look ridiculous. It would be very tiresome to see Esq after the name of all non-titled males in a long document that mentions many people.

“There is no . after Miss or Ms”

Reasonable.

“M.P.s - no need to write M.P. after their name in body of text”

Reasonable.

“Male M.P.s (non-privy councillors) - in the address they should have Esq., before M.P. “

See above.

“Double space after full-stops”

This remains a reasonable choice. Although most in the UK have moved to single spaces, there still exist British style guides that recommend two. It is a harmless choice that can be dealt with in software settings.

“No comma after ‘and’”

Why? As noted by Oeco above, the Guardian article about Rees-Mogg includes a comma after an ‘and’ that seems in context to be a good choice. This is one from Strunks, I think. It’s a downvote from me.

“CHECK your work”

This is very good advice.

“Use imperial measurements”

The UK uses a mixture of imperial and metric units. In general public use, road distances are in miles, acres are used for land areas, but fuel is sold by the litre, medical doses in milligrams, drinks (other than beer!) are sold in millilitres.
It seems a mistake for JRM to decide that the House of Commons will start referring to the price of fuel in pounds per gallon, grains of paracetamol allowed in a tablet, and 16.9 fluid ounce bottles of lemonade. In the absence of a broader demetrication program, his staff and MPs are likely to be baffled.

With regard to the list of banned words: if JRM’s intention is to caution against overuse of these words, that’s fair enough. Banning them seems a mistake.

“very”
It is nice to shake things up by using various intensifiers, rather than saying “very” fifty times in one document, but there are times when “very” will be the very thing required. Days ago, Rees-Mogg himself issued a statement saying, “It gives Boris Johnson a very significant mandate...”

“Due to”
Fair to caution against overuse, no need to ban.

“Ongoing”
This is an odd inclusion. Is there anything wrong with the phrase “ongoing investigation”? What’s he playing at? This will very often be the perfect word.

“Hopefully”
I can see why he doesn’t want this word in formal press releases and such.

“Unacceptable”
There are certainly times when another word would be better.

“Equal”

What the actual hell? This will often be the right word to use, in many contexts. I don’t see what he’s getting at.

“God has given us a grand opportunity to show our worth as architects of a new state and let it not be said that we did not prove equal to the task.”
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal...”

“Too many ‘I’s”

Okay.

“Yourself”

I think that trying to eliminate the second person reflexive pronoun would be difficult. It is an essential component of our language and there is nothing that can replace it. Lose yourself in the moment. Stand up for yourself.
I’m going to be kind to JRM and assume that what he wants to eliminate is the use of reflexive pronoun as a form of emphasis. If so, fair enough.

“Lot”

I am assuming that what JRM is objecting to is the phrase “a lot” meaning much. It’s a bit informal, so fair enough.

“Got”

I am assuming that what JRM is objecting to is the use of “have got” to mean “own” etc. It’s very common, but if he thinks that it is too informal for House business, fair enough.

“Speculate”

A useful word in several contexts. I don’t know what his problem is, here.

“‘invest’ (in schools etc)”

This one is a political decision. Using the term invest with regard to public facilities emphasizes the returns that the country gets from making these expenditures, and he wants to portray them as costs only.

“No longer fit for purpose”

There are usually better ways to say this, and it is getting a bit stale. Fair enough.

“I am pleased to learn”

This is also a bit stale, so fair enough.

“Meet with”

I am assuming that JRM regards the “with” as redundant. Almost fair enough, but I would note that adding “with” makes it clear that you’re not saying you encountered this person for the first time. “I met the President of France today” might, in the minds of some, suggest that he had not previously met the President of France.

“Ascertain”

Eh. Ascertain is fine. Don’t overuse, though.

“Disappointment”

Why? It’s a useful word and nothing else can quite replace it. “Our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country.”

“I note/understand your concerns”

This one is also a bit stale, so fair enough.

All up, about 10 of these are _just plain wrong_ and the rest range from “fine, whatever” to “correct”.

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Posted: 29 July 2019 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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"Meet” versus “meet with”:  In my usage, they have an additional difference in meaning.  If I say “I met Jacob Rees-Mogg at Starbucks” this meeting can be spontaneous.  We were standing in line waiting to pay for our frappuchinos, and started chatting.  If I say “I met with Jacob Rees-Mogg at Starbucks” this is more formal and planned:  We had arranged ahead of time to meet, brought out laptops, and sat down together with our frappuchinos for our meeting.

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Posted: 29 July 2019 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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His recent tome on Victorian worthies won far from golden encomia. He is a devout Catholic too with numerous sprogs because every sperm is sacred and they all have simply splendid names: Tom Wentworth Somerset Dunstan, Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher, Mary Anne Charlotte Emma, Anselm Charles Fitzwilliam, Peter Theodore Alphege, Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius. If they ever disown their father they can extract normal names from those like Tom, Chris, Anne, Charlie, Pete, Alf. Poor tykes.

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Posted: 29 July 2019 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You’ve reminded me of the names of Boris’s publicly acknowledged kids: Lara Lettice, Cassia Peaches, Milo Arthur, Theodore Apollo.

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Posted: 29 July 2019 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Is there any age minimum with regard to the prescription to refer to all non-titled males with an esq.?

Re: “meet with”, is it possible the peeve is regarding constructions like, “this idea will not meet with success”?

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Posted: 29 July 2019 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Svinyard118 - 29 July 2019 11:07 AM

Is there any age minimum with regard to the prescription to refer to all non-titled males with an esq.?

I can’t speak to British usage, but there are no rules regarding its use in the US. (There was a little kerfuffle between 1775–81 that nixed the idea of titles in this country.) The only ones who use it are lawyers, and then only in formal correspondence.

Re: “meet with”, is it possible the peeve is regarding constructions like, “this idea will not meet with success”?

Who knows? The big problem with many of Jake’s “rules” is that he doesn’t give any context. He should add one at the top: “Write clearly and don’t assume your reader knows what the hell you’re writing about.”

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Posted: 30 July 2019 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Come on, the list is basically trolling (as is Rees-Mogg’s entire career); it’s an exercise in shouting “Froggy” and seeing who jumps.  He would be full of giddy, contemptuous delight at seeing people engaging in po-faced discussion of the merits of each item on a list he doubtless threw together in a few minutes after a few drinks.

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Posted: 31 July 2019 01:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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like the prime minister he serves, has cultivated a reputation for formality and upper-class eccentricity, gaining the nickname the “honourable member for the 18th century”

It annoys me every time this asinine sobriquet is trotted out. There is nothing in Rees-Mogg’s shtick that remotely resembles anything 18th century (starting of course with the fact that he would have been ineligible to hold any public office in that century). I think he’s actually channelling Sebastian Flyte, taking his nanny around with him as a substitute for Aloysius the bear.

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Posted: 31 July 2019 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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languagehat - 30 July 2019 06:22 AM

Come on, the list is basically trolling (as is Rees-Mogg’s entire career); it’s an exercise in shouting “Froggy” and seeing who jumps.  He would be full of giddy, contemptuous delight at seeing people engaging in po-faced discussion of the merits of each item on a list he doubtless threw together in a few minutes after a few drinks.

I’m honestly not so sure, but I suppose we’ll see.

It annoys me every time this asinine sobriquet is trotted out. There is nothing in Rees-Mogg’s shtick that remotely resembles anything 18th century (starting of course with the fact that he would have been ineligible to hold any public office in that century). I think he’s actually channelling Sebastian Flyte, taking his nanny around with him as a substitute for Aloysius the bear.

I would have said Bertie Wooster.

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Posted: 01 August 2019 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Rees-Mogg is what you see - a product of a privileged background and education. His problem - and also his strength - is that he refuses to bow to common trends and is consequently easy to mock, hence the “eighteenth century” jibe. He appears to be principled (or as principled as any politician these days) and does command some respect. The list is interesting and says more about him than he probably intended.

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