This is an urgent appeal. The Daily Express, Richard Desmond’s third-rate newspaper, is sorely in need of a thesaurus.
I say this because, when reading any of the articles published in that paper, a sort of terminal malaise comes over me. A deep and spiralling boredom. I imagine the feeling is roughly similar to the drowsiness induced by some sort of tranquiliser.
In a newspaper with an already-dwindling circulation in a time when the print media is suffering across the board, this is anything but the desired effect.
Let’s start with the headlines. The purpose of a headline is to sum up the story in a way that will encourage further venture into the copy below. If the headline doesn’t grab the reader, it’s unlikely they will read the rest of the article. This is sad but, nonetheless, true.
As an example, here’s today’s Daily Express front page:
See that? “Fury”. Fury is a very evocative word indeed. Fury is anger multiplied many times over. Fury is one of those words that must surely, to preserve its power and impact, be saved only for the occasions when anger of a spectacularly unique and horrible nature occurs.
Well, according to the Daily Express, it seems that this “fury” actually occurs rather a lot:
Remember, all of those articles are from the last month alone and we’re only just halfway through it.
It should also be noted that this so-called “fury” is almost always magnified and exaggerated and embellished by the paper many times over. Perhaps until the point where the word “fury” actually is suitable.
Some other words that are overused to point of utter tedium in the Express’ headlines include “outrage”, “chaos” and “panic”; all used when “slight dissatisfaction”, “minor disruption” and “meagre concern” would be more appropriate.
Another word that the Daily Express rather likes is “bungling”. A few examples from the last few months alone:
There’s nothing wrong with using the word, of course, but after only a month of reading Express articles nearly every day (a task that, I can assure you, I do not enjoy) the word crops so much that it bores me to tears every time I see it again.
Some other overused words include “bureaucrats”, “scroungers”, “taxpayers”, “immigrants”, “Muslims” and, oh yes, “TaxPayers’ Alliance” (that one crops up especially often).
Try it for yourself. Read a few Express articles (it doesn’t even have to be that many) and you too will realise what dire need the Daily Express is in for a simple pocket thesaurus and a bit of imagination.
Please send your thesauruses to:
The Northern & Shell Building,
Number 10 Lower Thames Street,
Together, we can make a change (adjustment, conversion, development, difference, diversification, innovation, metamorphosis, modification, reconstruction, refinement, remodelling, revision, revolution, shift, switch, transformation, transmutation, variation).