Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Hubby


There's a headline in today's Sun:

KILLER MUM 'WARNING BY HUBBY'

For some reason The Sun uses quotation marks for things that aren't quotations. Nobody said the words 'warning by hubby'. The actual quotation given in the article is:

She said: "He said to my husband and I that he was very concerned about the safety of the children in her hands."

Husband.

I have lived in Britain almost all my life. I have been all over this grey and unpleasant land. I have been to university and I have been to Asda. I have chatted to aristocrats, tramps, professors, pimps, immigrants, emmigr├ęs, builders, bouncers, farmers, doctors, nurses, criminals and even journalists. I have been to the North and the South. I have dined at the Savoy and got drunk in the nastiest pub in Britain*. I have walked and crawled amongst the lowest of the dead, and I have never once heard anyone use the word hubby.

The word hubby is in the OED. They have citations from 1688 and 1887. And it's distantly possible that I have survived all these hubbyless years as a linguistic and statistical oddity. But I contend that this word is concoction and confection from the diseased brain of some paleolinguistic tabloid hack.

That's why the word was not in the quotation.

She said: "He said to my husband and I that he was very concerned about the safety of the children in her hands."

Oh, and it should have been "my husband and me".

A bear and her hubby


*This is a close run thing between Off The Rails on Weston-Super-Mare station and Doyles Tavern opposite the entrance to Pentonville Prison.

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