Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Article excerpt

'WRONG and new and spreading' is the irritated response of a reader, Dr John Bell of Strathaven, to the construction `she was diagnosed with malaria'. As Dr Bell points out, the Guardian and Telegraph and BBC revel in its use. I like `revel' - as if they did it to annoy because they know it teases.

One reason why the usage is so tiresome is its double solecism. It might be possible to accept an extension of diagnose to take in the person as well as the disease, but what on earth do people think the with means? It is clearly not instrumental, as if malaria were a sigmoidoscope. One might say `afflicted with malaria', but if the meaning is analagous to detected, the construction would be `diagnosed as having malaria'. I doubt that we can stop it now. Diagnosed with has joined the misuse of forensic as a staple of local news broadcasts.

On that puzzling cliche, pear-shaped (it all went pear-shaped), I have found a big fat juicy red herring to share with you. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.