To bring or to buy is the question...

In answer to Barrie Wennington (Herald letters, May 27) – yes, there are others who are bothered by the misuse of the verbs to bring and to buy.

I have built up quite a file of examples on the confusion these verbs bring to our language.

Even when communicating with the head of the English department of a northern university who is a regular contributor to BBC’s Today programme, he too is mystified, as to where it all began and it is definitely on the increase.

I have heard people from various parts of the UK using ‘bought’ when they mean brought.

John Humphreys of the Today programme often rails about bad grammar and generally bad English usage, while sitting next to another presenter on the same programme, Sarah Montague who uses ‘bought’ when she means brought, or tune into Midweek with Libby Purvis for more examples of ‘bought’ instead of brought, “So what have you ‘bought’ to the studio for us this morning?”.

It seems nobody cares how our language is mangled. The BBC has always been an arbiter of good grammar and pronunciation but I think that may now be in the past.

Listening to BBC Radio Sussex can be used as an example, there, almost all the broadcasters use ‘bought’ when meaning brought. Does it matter? Does it confuse a meaning? It certainly does.

During the Iraq war I sat incredulously watching the 10 o’clock news as correspondent Juliette Bremner, in flak jacket and helmet talking to camera, urgently told us that “The Americans have ‘bought’ heavy Armour for their attack on Fallujah”. Last year I was on a cruise, the ship docked in Norway and we had an excursion to a village where a man had created quite a sizeable museum of World War Two bits and pieces, he had just explained that because his exhibition had grown so big, he had recently removed to this larger building to house it all, when one of our tour party asked while pointing to some guns “Have you ‘bought’ all these here as well? No, no answered the curator, all these were free, given by the good people of the village who no longer wanted to keep wartime souvenirs.

I have in my possession, a page from a ‘give-away’ magazine with a picture of a bric-a-brac shop front and, the fascia bears the legend “goods brought and sold” and that is not bad English developed from text speak, that is from people who do not know the difference.

Matt Conway

Medina Drive

Stone Cross