Cliche

Diane Williams’s surreal parables are an acquired taste — and one well worth acquiring

12 November 2016 9:00 am

There is a common assumption that experimental writing — for want of a better term — is obscure, joyless and…

J.M. Coetzee has lost the plot

20 August 2016 9:00 am

The Schooldays of Jesus is not, as it happens, about the schooldays of Jesus. It is the Man Booker-nominated sequel…

It’s not sexist to say ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Bustle, an online newspaper ‘for and by women’, has published ‘six common phrases you didn’t know were sexist (that you’ll…

Word of the week: 'concept'

28 May 2016 9:00 am

‘It was nothing special, but it was a pub,’ said my husband, looking up from his copy of Bar magazine…

Why the leap-year proposal is a nonsense

27 February 2016 9:00 am

It’s nonsense that women should be given one day in every four years to propose marriage

Where ‘big ask’ came from, and why it still sounds barbaric

8 August 2015 9:00 am

‘That’s unnecessarily crude,’ said my husband, turning momentarily from the television and improving the shining minute by setting the whisky…

Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) with his children Scout and Jem in the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Go Set a Watchman should never have been hyped as a ‘landmark new novel’, says Philip Hensher

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on the tangled history of To Kill a Mockingbird’s much-anticipated ‘sequel’

On the cusp: a cliche with a hidden astrological side

27 June 2015 9:00 am

‘A stalker who dressed a pillow “mannequin” in his ex’s nurse’s uniform, then sent her a picture, has been told…

‘Robust’, busted

28 February 2015 9:00 am

‘Heart of Oak are our ships, Jolly Tars are our men,’ shouted my husband unconvincingly. He has taken to doing…

Existential threat: the birth of a cliché

24 January 2015 9:00 am

In the endless game of word association that governs vocabulary, the current favourite as a partner of existential is threat.…

Rod Liddle: The top 10 most fatuous phrases in the English language

1 November 2014 9:00 am

An apology. A few weeks back, in my blog, I promised a regular series called ‘Fatuous Phrase of the Week’.…

When did we stop ‘tossing’ coins?

29 March 2014 9:00 am

What kind of scientists do school inspectors not need to be? ‘Inspectors don’t need to be rocket scientists.’ For what…