The fast pace of the new century — the thought that since we can get some things done faster, we should — has killed off some lovely expressions that nearly everyone seemed to know years ago.
One of the expressions I grew up hearing on TV and radio was “Due to technical difficulties beyond our control” and an explanation that I couldn’t hear or see a particular program (or concert, or hockey game) until those difficulties disappeared.
That expression has come back to mind lately as I’ve been battling problems with my TV, PC and — as of Friday — my phone. (I’m in the library composing this on one of the computers I can borrow for two hours a day. That’s a story for when I have more time.)
I don’t hear or read “Due to technical difficulties” expressions any more. I get “unable to deliver message,” “Error 404 not found,’ or the closest to old style, “There has been a problem with the service.”
I have a couple of quibbles here. Yes, that’s down from feeling like the volcano I found in my art file.
First, of course Error 404 is not found. I don’t even know what Error 404 is! I don’t want any Error 404, thanks very much!
The machines aren’t “delivering” their respective messages, they’re sending them… or they should be.
As for the message that “There has been a problem,” why not tell me there still is? I know there has been, and I will be able to say that when it’s ended. But a message that the problem exists ought to be in present tense when the problem is in present tense.
Here’s another fun expression I miss: Further developments as events warrant.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
Filed under: Expressions