This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books.
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Latest Posts : Pet Peeves
The blame here is on an American TV network that presented an interview with a British Fire Chief saying something about an outbreak of criminals with “petrol bombs” -- and then with no explantation whatever. In America, we do not have “petrol” and nobody knows what a “petrol bomb” is.
Then after several minutes of thought, it dawned on me that the Fire Chief meant Molotov Cocktails. Yes, the crooks were committing arson with Molotov Cocktails. Those are bottles of gasoline with wicks attached to the tops, and then set on fire. Molotov Cocktails are well-known here from their history as weapons of the Soviet Army in fighting against Nazi German tanks.
Vyacheslav Molotov was the Soviet Foregn Minister from 1939 through 1949, and he was well-known to Americans especially since he visited the United States in 1942 (to see President Roosevelt and to ask for wartime aid) and in 1945 (to sign the Treaty of San Francisco that established the United Nations). Molotov also held other high posts in the Soviet heirarchy. Hence, the name “Molotov Cocktail” came from all of this.
People who appear on American TV need to use the American names for things, or at least the TV networks should explain what foreign phrases mean.
We understand what a TOKAMAC is because it has been explained to us as a Russian acronym. We can look up the details in www.Wikipedia.org if we want to. Slang phrases like “petrol bomb” at not there.
I just heard a British announcer say “much more ready” on TV. Whatever happened to the word “readier” and the phrase “much readier”.
Also, is the source of the phrase “much more X”, where X is a simple one or two syllable adjective, in British English -- and Americans are now slavishly imitating it?
Now we hear such wretched phrases as “much more free”, “much more grave”, and “much more simple”, when we already had simple comparatives like “freer”, “graver”, and “simpler”.
Pet Peeve 1. Lots of antipodeans (particularly sports commentators) persist in pronouncing “début” as “dayboo” yet they pronounce “débutante” correctly. Occurs 2 or 3 times in every broadcast on Sky TV. I now mute the sound otherwise my teeth would be ground to dust.