My colleague Tom Chivers has written a blog post mocking The Times for describing the Queen’s encounter with Martin McGuinness as “an [sic] historic meeting”. As he puts it: “Verily, thou art speaking like thou hast watched too many costume dramas, milord.”
Quite right, Tom. Sticking the letter “n” before “historic” or “hotel” is a ghastly genteelism. I associate it with the sort of self-conscious young fogeys who call the radio the “wireless” and probably belong to the East India Club. Every time I hear them talk about “an historic occasion” I want to strangle them with their watch-chains. Or, if they’re sporting casual dress, with their cravats.
Tossers - not you Plume old chap. I guess I'm one of those fogeys, though hardly young, who continues to put 'an' before historic and hotel. I don't wear a cravat though and it's been a long time since I listened to the wireless (not since that nice young Donna Summers sang 'On the radio' - rest her soul). Mind you how else does one secure one's watch if not with a chain?
East India Club? Good lord is that den of iniquity still creaking along?