Cemetery – Section A

In News Reports, Writing on May 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

Don’t get me wrong. The words/phrases are fine. Grammatical, even appropriately used. It’s just that they’re used so often, they are like “templates”. Surely, there are original ways to write stuff!

Flying off the shelves

Only if the stuff’s really flying off or levitating in some manner please.

Predictably, as expected, not new, not the first/no surprise.

I dunno why we keep killing our stories with such words. If it’s predicted, not new, why are we writing it? Even if it is the case, there must be other words to use if we want to say something went as scheduled? according to plan? a common ruse?

No stranger to blah blah

This phrase is popping up far too often. It’s like everyone is no stranger to something…

…is set to….

Seeing too many “is set to” go up, come down, explode etc. What happened to good old “will”?

Pass away/deceased

Nobody passes away in Straits Times copy, they jes DIE. Likewise, there’s no The deceased, jes DEAD people, who also have names….


are really just a woman/women

In addition to…

is banned since ALSO will do.


I am of the opinion that you should just say said

Be Prepared to, Brace yourself for

No need to tell readers what they must do when it’s obvious from reading the news story what is going to happen.

A case in point.

Just tell the reader what this is. By the way, using such stale language (except if it is really quite apposite and applies to CASE the consumer body) makes YOU sound old, unhip and unswinging. This was stuff used in school debates in the Jurassic period – that is, 1960s.

Come November/next week/Monday, blah-blah. type of intros.

Ask yourself if the date is REALLY the most important thing. And even if it is, isn’t there a sexier way to tell it??? Can we leave come to comings and goings and in the bedroom only?

Forked out.

Whether it’s $20,000 or $20, seems everybody is forking out. Unless it’s like gigantic amount, to be left as cutlery.

Raked in.

Whether it’s $20,000…..etc. You know what I mean. To be left in garden.

Raped AND molested.

If the victim has been raped then there’s a 99 per cent chance she has also been molested. Fine to mention it as part of charge, but not to keep repeating it, unless the distinction is important. eg, if the man is claiming he only molested her but the woman is claiming rape.


Singapore risks making a fool of itself by running stories about how it wants/intends to be the hub for: health services, education, biotech, arts, design, etc etc (can’t remember them all)

Industry players

Who they be?? Can we be more precise? Say contractors, retailers, shipbuilders and developers…

Irate consumers/Singaporeans/students etc.

Makes me wonder what happened to unhappy, upset, angry, frustrated. Seems like everybody is IRATE.

Kick off/kicking off.

To use only if the subject is a football match._

Little did he know blah blah….

Of course, he doesn’t know he’s going to get hit by a car, get cancer, win an award….

Last thing on his mind blah blah....

Of course, it’s the last thing on his mind that he might get hit by a car, get cancer, win an award….


This word is over used. As in “He got cold feet – literally’. It’s usually so abundantly clear from the context that the sense is literal. So if his feet are cold, they’re cold.

She/He/It/Singapore is NOT ALONE.

Come on, own up… How many of you have written this line that comes after a human interest/anecdotal opening? Can we save the NOT ALONE phrase for when Earth finally discovers other sentient beings?

He is one of blah blah

This is a result of reporters getting round He is not alone. Can we get more creative please.



  1. Brings me back to ARC days. Good times, good times…

  2. Blast from the past is the Sweet 16… *grin*

  3. You still have it ah? I will post it; after I am done with cemetery.

  4. Re: Sweet 16. Nope… didn’t keep a physical copy but have tried to remember – and apply – key lessons.

    Your practice of asking scribes being debriefed “So, what’s your intro?”, thus forcing us to think on our feet terrified the newsroom (ditto your:”I am here. Where r u?” BERTHA 9:30AM sent via Coyote) but those of us who went through that experience and made an effort to learn from it came out better.

    Many thanks. 🙂

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