chapter  10
18 Pages

Making strange: defamiliarisation

We all have our own little bugbears about language and the way it is used, and the more time we spend in the language the less ‘little’ these bugbears are likely to seem to us. A couple of commonplace solecisms that irritate me, and which I stumble over repeatedly in my students’ writing, are the hyphenation of ‘no one’ as ‘no-one’, and the conjoining of ‘any more’ as ‘anymore’. My dictionary supports me on both of these, but they are trivial errors and no doubt in time they will become the accepted convention, in much the same way that ‘week-end’, for instance, has become ‘weekend’. Usage changes, and I notice that ‘anymore’ is already becoming routine in American English, and increasingly appears in the Guardian (despite the advice of the Guardian’s own style guide).