What this blog is for and about

I also offer personally-tailored, individualized English conversation practice (including etiquette) and coaching in writing techniques. Finally, I edit texts such as magazines, business proposals, memorandums, emails so they are presented in English which does not embarrass you or your organization. For further details, please mail me at: language.etiquette@gmail.com

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20 June 2015

New word of the day: "factological" !

From the Website Politico:

The news comes after the Russian Federation failed to meet a Monday deadline set by the  European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which it was supposed to present with a distribution plan for the €1.9 billion it owes to some 55,000 shareholders of Yukos Oil Company. No such plan was produced.
Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told Interfax that Russia was unlikely to honor the ruling.We have no certainty that Russia will be able to comply with this decision because, in our view, it runs counter to the case-law practice of the court itself and is not based on real, factological circumstances,” he said. “We will write to them that we have not drawn up the plan.”
What, one wonders, might real circumstances be which are not "factological"?

And what sort of circumstances might be "factologocal" but not "real"?

17 June 2015

A beautiful and inspiring example of how to write English simply, clearly therefore interestingly

Here is a totally fascinating programme that is, on the surface, about Stephen Hawking, a most interesting man, even if you are not involved with science. 

However, to readers of this blog it has a deeper significance. Much of it is narrated by Hawking himself and, possibly because it takes him so long to write, or perhaps because he thinks so clearly, he has learned the precious art of writing SIMPLY. 

Anyone wanting to understand how to write English properly should listen to Hawking's text in this film. Every sentence is simple, but all the thoughts are crystal clear. This is how all Russians should strive to write English, as I never tire of telling my students and the people whose prose I correct. It is not the only way to write, but it is the best if English is not your native language

Now at last, I have a reference that is contemporary and I will be scattering this link in all directions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxEtofitkuE

14 June 2015

Another useful English expression

Good English expression:
"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Click on the link and, if you can guess what the original was like, you have understood the meaning of "sow's ear" and hopefully, by extension the inference behind "silk purse".