English as she is not spoke

Hacks and gibberish.

I’m reading an article on The Independent’s website about British forces taking quite a few casualties this month. I read the following (my italics):

In all, 113 British forces have died.

Forces? Shouldn’t it be “military personnel” or “personnel” or some variation on that? I don’t remember the word “force” having a meaning like “member of a military unit”. Is this an Americanism? A militarism?

The previous paragraph uses the phrase “service personnel”, so perhaps the hacks (yes, there are two of them) or the sub-editor were trying for a little variation. On the plus side, forces is used correctly in the first part of the article.

In this sense, the British Expeditionary Force which was sent to France at the start of World War II would’ve been a disappointment. One man against the whole of the German army?


2 thoughts on “English as she is not spoke”

  1. Yeah it’s yet another stupid Americanism that’s infected British culture. I would have used ‘personnel’ as well, or at least something indicative of the loss of ‘individuals’.

  2. Is it another example of "Journalistic Licence?" They are the biggest spin doctors in the world whether it be in how or what they write. Take, for example, the NZ media reporting of the death of a British climber on Everest recently. Coincidentally NZ double leg amputee Mark Inglis was descending from his successful and quite amazing climb and was one of over 40 who passed the dying Englishman who had run out of oxygen and for whom there was no hope of survival. What has the NZ media done? Conned Sir Ed Hillary, now a very old man, into making a statement critical of Inglis, then suggested that the latter was a party to the guy’s death and could have done more. They played down the fact that the guy’s own support gropup had left him and that 39 others had also gone by. Never mind that the dead man;s parents put absolutely no blame on Iglis. Never mind that when Inglis arrived back her he showed his severely frost bitten fingers and leg stumps to the cameras & reporters. He must have been in agony as he passed the guy, but the media paid no heed to that. He will almost certainly have more bits carved off what remains of his body. And of course this whole business has stirred up a surge of letters to the Editor with the usual range of interpretations from support to condemnation. The reason for all this? To sell more papers and make more money? Yes, but more to stir up controversy for the spin doctors to feed off.

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