Why do people speak like this?

  Sapins 15:30 16 Nov 2016

Just watched an "expert" talking about computer security and i could not believe how many times he interjected with "eh or erm".

There are many more er or erm users on TV and radio.

  john bunyan 15:36 16 Nov 2016

At last a post on speakers corner- "If you don't use it you'll lose it" ! Other annoying bits in broadcasts include "you know what I mean" , "Like" and starting a sentence with "So,"

  Belatucadrus 16:27 16 Nov 2016

"It's a big ask"

Ask is a verb it has no dimensions, there are no excuses for mangling the English language so badly. At list erm that's what I you know feel like innit.

  Forum Editor 16:51 16 Nov 2016

Come on....

Give these people a break. How many times have you appeared on TV? Being an expert in computer security doesn't mean you have to also be able to speak confidently and smoothly in a TV interview. I have not appeared on TV, but I have twice been interviewed on BBC radio - about internet security - and I can confirm that it can be a bit of an unnerving experience.

  Belatucadrus 16:59 16 Nov 2016

Maybe he should have done a Power-point presentation. Added some nice transition effects and a bit of Musak to give it that polished "Expert" look ?

  Forum Editor 17:00 16 Nov 2016


'A big ask' is a classic example of adapting English usage to good advantage. It's an expressive term, and beautifully describes a situation. I'm all for it, because it says something succinctly - it's far better than the slightly more cumbersome 'It's a lot to ask'.

I'm usually among the first to defend the purity of our language, but I don't believe in doing it in an uncompromising way. The language is robust enough to absorb lots of technical misuse, in fact it is often enriched by it.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:02 16 Nov 2016


Proper preparation prevents poor perfomance.

Very difficult to do something straight off the cuff and appear professional. Interviews are nerve racking at the best of times.

  bumpkin 18:56 16 Nov 2016

Do they not rehearse this sort of interview first and edit it?

  Forum Editor 19:12 16 Nov 2016


Sometimes (not always) TV interviews are pre-recorded. One of my radio interviews was recorded in a studio and post-edited. The interviewer was miles away, and spoke to me via headphones. When I heard myself on the broadcast, I sounded OK because they had removed any pauses or fumbled words. The other interview was live. I found the live one a little daunting, because you only get one chance - I didn't really know what the next question was going to be, although I had been briefed on the broad outline the day before.

I think that in the main, audiences understand if you don't come over as a totally confident speaker. With luck, they are more interested in the content than the delivery. When I watch TV correspondents being interviewed on the news broadcasts I feel for them. They often appear to lose their own thread, and have to waffle a little to get themselves back on track.

We're all human, and capable of making mistakes.

  rickf 22:22 16 Nov 2016

I hate politicians saying "What people want is...." as if they somehow have a crystal bowl. What an assumption????

  bumpkin 22:29 16 Nov 2016

I don,t think that I would very confident on a live one either. It is very easy to say something one minute then wished you had rephrased it later.

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