Things you only hear on TV, not in real life

Here are some things you only hear on TV (at least, British TV), and never anywhere else.

(1) ‘for ever’. Real people say ‘she changed how we think’. A TV presenter will say ‘she changed how we think – for ever’. Adding a pause for dramatic effect is vital.

(2) ‘of age’. Real people say ‘he’s only 18’. A TV presenter – well, a sports TV presenter – will say ‘he’s only 18 years of age’.

(3) ‘exactly’. Real people say ‘Mary will tell us what happened’. A TV presenter will say ‘Mary will tell us exactly what happened’. Curiously, it always turns out that the word ‘exactly’ is used ironically here.

(4) ‘an historic event’. Real people say ‘It was, like, massive’. A TV presenter will say ‘It was an historic event’. The sad thing is that they think they’re being correct by saying ‘an historic’, but strictly speaking it should be pronounced with a silent ‘h’, i.e. ‘an istoric’, in the same way that some people say ‘an otel’, as opposed to ‘an hotel’. The only people who I’ve ever heard get this right are Quentin Skinner and Tony Blair. Everyone else who says it gets it wrong, hence shooting themselves twice in the foot with one unhistoric bullet.

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