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Open Course welcomes Jay the guide dog

15th July 2014

The last open training course, held at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham, welcomed a different kind of delegate in June.

Jay is an official Guide Dog for the Blind who accompanied one of the delegates on the course. Most of his day was spent snoozing under the table, but other delegates were delighted when, occasionally, their concentration was interrupted by a damp nose nudging against their legs!

Many thanks to his owner, Sandy from Worcestershire County Council, who kindly shared with us all the marvellous technology now available for blind and partially-sighted people and who demonstrated how well the plain English course translated into braille.

A great venue, enthusiastic delegates and Jay the Dog made this a very special  course.

Troops get a lesson in grammar

10th March 2014

An Army Commander, Major General James Cowan, has hit the headlines after insisting that junior officers stop writing "pompous words" and instead write with "simpler language".

He also said: "Combined with underlining and italics, the wanton use of capitals, abbreviations and acronyms assaults the eye and leaves the reader exhausted."

I really can't add anything to that.

Tesco's in trouble again

7th March 2014

Oops! Looks like Tesco's shot itself in the foot again over its use of grammar.

The latest grammatical slip up was spotted by schoolboy, Albert Gifford, on a carton of Tesco's orange juice.

"Most tastiest" mixes the superlative form of an adjective "most" with another superlative - the "tastiest".

The orange juice should be either the "most tasty" (tasty being an adjective) or simply the "tastiest".

Complicated huh?

This follows Tesco's 2008 linguistic crisis when the supermarket giant elected to change its grammatically incorrect "10 items or less" notice on its checkouts.

"Less" relates to quantities that can't be separated or counted - There was less rain in Wales this year. Fewer refers to items that can be counted, so would be correct for Tesco's fast-track checkouts.

But "10 items or fewer" sounds so pompous that Tesco's solution "Up to 10 items" is an excellent compromise.

Isn't grammar fun!

TalkTalk's new Phonetiquette

5th March 2014

TalkTalk's new Phonetiquette Guide gets my support.

The "polite guide to dos and don'ts of everyday phone use" lists the use of capital letters as one of the many irritating things we do when using mobile phones.

Item 4 on the Don'ts list says "Don't leave CAPS LOCK ON when texting or emailing. No one likes being shouted at!" I couldn't agree more.

Visit www.talktalk.co.uk/phonetiquette for the full list.

Birmingham course booked

3rd March 2014

Delighted to have firmed up the booking for SCPR's next plain English open training course.

We're at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in New Street, Birmingham, on Wednesday 18 June 2014.

The venue's only a few minutes' walk from the station so it's really easy to get to. It also means that delegates who are travelling any distance can stay overnight at the same venue as the training course.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about the open training courses is the fact that delegates come from different organisations in different parts of the country, so we all get to meet other people to swop plain English horror stories!

I also love it when, after the event, people invite me to roll out in-house courses for colleagues in their own organisation so we all get to stay in touch.

SCPR's training courses are great fun and packed with loads of useful tips and information. They are consistently rated "excellent" in all respects by delegates and are definitely well worth a try.

Click here to book a place on the course.

To find out more about the venue or to book a room visit www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/burlington

Shirley Carnegie

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“Shirley is a knowledgeable trainer whose open training course was enriched by a wealth of practical examples drawn from her own considerable experience. An excellent investment in terms of both time and financial resources.

Sandy Bannister
Equality & Diversity Manager
Worcestershire County Council

South Staffordshire Council NHS Trafford Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust Hackney Council Tyssen Community School & Children's Centre Wolverhampton Homes