Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Copy Fail: King's College

I just don’t get this; in what context do they mean “World questions”? Do they mean it in the sense that while the rest of the world questions, King’s comes up with the answers? Or that King’s comes up with answers for all the questions about the world?

I think it’s probably the former, as it’s meant to be a juxtaposition. But without the - the definitive article - it could be either. The result is slogan that’s supposed to impress, but is vague and clumsy.

And let’s not also forget that while it’s common for folk to refer to King’s College as King’s, not everyone is certain to know this, especially foreigners. There is a small chance a visitor could see it and think they mean literally mean kings. Sure, it’s a small chance, but a good writer tries to anticipate these kinds of stumbling blocks. I mean, we all have ‘off’ moments when we don’t quite make the connection we’re supposed to – this kind of ambiguity, small though it is, makes this more likely.

What I imagine happened was that it was originally a longer, and more precise phrase, probably: While the world questions – King’s answers. But somebody decided it needed to be four words and cut it done, maybe without consulting the writer. Certainly without considering the impact on the phrases meaning.

You’ll also notice there’s no comma. And I’m not really sure what the italics are bringing to the table.


e.f. bartlam said...

What about the World is questioning the answers that King has come up with?