I like well modulated grammar. I appreciate the clarity and accuracy that comes from applying the rules. I also enjoy seeing those rules creatively and consciously broken. Language lives; usage comes and goes and I embrace innovation. But (and, yes, these days it is fine to start a sentence with “but”), there are some things up with which I will not put:
A BIG THANK YOU
“A big thank you” what? It hangs there like “a wrinkly elephant”.
Okay so, “A big thank you to all our supporters …” from whom? What are people trying to do with this phrase? It is so passive that the wonderful verb of thanking someone has become a wrinkly elephant of a noun that nobody will claim to own.
Fine, then, “We would like to say a big thank you to all our supporters.” Better, but that’s still a bit like saying, “we’d like to say a wrinkly elephant to all our supporters.” And why the conditional? Is there a problem?
“We would like to say a big thank you to all our supporters, but it sounds silly.” I agree with that.
Maybe if the big thank you is what you want to say then it should be in quotation marks? “We would like to say ‘a big thank you‘ to all our supporters.” That doesn’t make sense either, it just adds a dollop of sarcasm.
I’m reminded of the parson in church, “Lord, we pray for all the people in the world and we especially pray for the widows and orphans.” That’s not praying, that’s just telling God that you are praying – WHAT do you pray for the orphans?
Maybe expressing the wish to issue “a big thank you” is a way of avoiding actually thanking anyone in the same way that the parson who prays for widows and orphans never actually prays for them.
Well, I just want to say “a big wrinkly elephant” to all who read this blog.
Thank you for reading it, thank you for commenting and interacting with me. I’m grateful to you all and I just wanted to express that somehow.
- Grammar Pet Peeves Part II (robincoyle.wordpress.com)
- Literary Pet Peeves (goldenbookwyrm.wordpress.com)