Pendant’s Coroner

Definition of Pendants Coroner: when someone corrects someone else’s grammar, punctuation, spelling or factual knowledge, and in the process makes some risible error or errors.  It derives from a thread on Harry’s Place when a commenter came to correct some points of grammar, punctuation, etc. under the moniker (unintentional) of Pendants Coroner.

Here’s an example.  I bought The Observer on Sunday and leafing through the glossy magazine came across one of those “LifeStyle”, i.e. wittering on about nothing much in particular, pieces called Up Front.   A picture of the writer, a good-looking young woman, took up about one-eighth of the page.

The young woman – nah, I mean the little fibbertigibbet –  had this to say (among other things):

I like to think I’m a fairly tolerant person. I’m not, obviously, but I still like to think it. In truth, as I get older the list of things that disproportionately annoy me gets longer. Grammatical errors. Tourists who walk too slowly down busy London thoroughfares. Pregnant women who wear “Baby on board” badges when travelling on public transport. That kind of thing. By the time I’m 85, I’ll doubtless be writing green ink letters in the nursing home, furiously muttering: “Different from, not different to” as Eastern European nurses try to spoon mushed-up apple through the gaps in my teeth.

The rueful self-deprecation is one mark of this kind of writing.  The Pendants Coroner moment came from this hater of grammatical errors getting cross with people saying “different to”.  “Different to“, “different from” are good English.  She is probably thinking of “different than”, which is not.

The stickler against sloppiness went on to say:

Of course, in the same hotel room, there was a working radio. Why is the assumption that listening rather than watching is somehow less intrusive, less brain-rotting? I suspect it’s because listening to the wireless is seen as an altogether more tasteful activity, one redolent of English period dramas where families gather round the fireplace to hear Winston Churchill declare war on Germany.

Oh dear.  She looks like she’s only just left school – I thought World War II was something, in fact the only thing, they learned there these days.  She can’t even have been watching those English period dramas with much attention.

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8 thoughts on “Pendant’s Coroner

  1. Worm
    April 20, 2011 at 12:48

    Many is the the time that someone on the internet has pulled me up on something and then, with great bathos, finished their sentence by calling me a looser

    ian russell
    April 20, 2011 at 12:59

    Its true! He went round each house personally and bellowed down the chimney. Is there such a thing as a pedant’s crooner? I hope so

  3. Worm
    April 20, 2011 at 13:08

    and let’s not forget the elusive pendant’s cornea

    john halliwell
    April 20, 2011 at 17:05

    Is this the day we celebrate the dirigible? First, Scott Locklin’s post, now Chamberlain pictured in front of a scale model of Barnes Wallis’ follow-up to his R100 – with its large and revolutionary forward facing, wrap-around propeller system. Marvelous!

    Gadjo Dilo
    April 21, 2011 at 06:08

    And then there’s the pedant’s coiner, a chap who mints low-denomination lucre with the monarch’s full and proper title on it: ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR Two Pence.

    April 21, 2011 at 09:46

    Pointers out of erroneous writing stuff are mere pygmies compared with those (and we all know ’em) horticulturists, gardeners to you and me, who relish correcting the proletariat from dawn till dusk, insisting upon using the Latin, a dead language in fact a well dead language.

    Blimey, room for plenty of goolies in that paragraf.

    Gadjo Dilo
    April 21, 2011 at 12:44

    Malto, my next-door neighbour is that man: he knows the Latin name of every species of animal, bird, fish and creeping thing that ever dared call this planet home.

    April 22, 2011 at 12:29

    Gadjo – your next-door neighbour is of the species homo taxonomus.

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