Thursday 9 June 2011

Horses for courses…

I heard this phrase today for the first time in ages and it got me thinking. Originally this related to horses being raced on courses that were appropriate to their build/running style etc. It is now more widely used in everyday conversation, and dare I say has become a cliché, to say that what is suitable for one may not be suitable for all.

It got me thinking about how many such phrases there must be in our everyday vocabulary. I wonder whether somewhere there exists a list of all the specialised phrases that have been adopted along the way to apply to general conversation. Who would have the patience to compile such a list? Or the time in fact?

Business writing in particular, I find, is completely littered with sayings like this. They must have been relevant, specific and exceedingly useful in their conception, but today they are ‘old hat’ and ‘at the end of the day’ have we completely lost all sense of originality?

I say bring on some new phrases. Invent them. Pluck them from obscure practices around the world. The art of extreme ironing, for example, must surely have some jargon from which we can extract the next cliché of the future.

Elloise Hopkins

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