Do you have a word conscious classroom?
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council, has issued a set of rules for staff in his office to follow, including a list of banned words and a requirement to use imperial measurements.
The guidance was drawn up by Mr Rees-Mogg’s North East Somerset constituency team a few years ago, but has now been shared with officials in his new office.
According to the style guide obtained by ITV News, banned words and phrases include “hopefully”, “very”, “due to” and “equal”, as well as “yourself”, “ongoing”, “I am pleased to learn” and “unacceptable”. The phrase “no longer fit for purpose” has also been deemed no longer fit for purpose.
Although a stickler for the rules, Mr Rees-Mogg has used the words on his ‘banned list’ 1,189 times since he entered the Commons, according to Hansard, the official transcript of parliamentary proceedings.
Other directions included using a double space after full stops, and no comma after the word ‘and’. Michael Gove did the same thing in 2015 warning officials at the Ministry of Justice never to use the word “impact” as a verb and to spell out contractions so that “doesn’t” becomes “does not”.
Mr Rees-Mogg, nicknamed “honourable member for the 18th century”, insists that all non-titled males are given the suffix Esq- short for Esquire.
Credit: ITV News
So, when the new term kicks in, these are worth sharing with your staff and pupils.
Although he has been widely ridiculed, his opponents miss the point. Teachers are always telling their children to avoid using certain tired and worn-out words and phrases so this is no different because a banned word list cultivates deeper thinking. One of my pet peeves is hearing children say the word “sad” when they have been asked to comment on how something made them feel.
Sad was on my banned list of words that I posted on a display and children were encouraged instead to use “crestfallen” – a far more adventurous and powerful word. Next to my banned list I also displayed a list of ‘formal’, ‘technical’, ‘standard’ alternatives.
In the garden of writing, the same old weeds keep popping up so they need pulling out. So Jacob Rees-Mogg is right to outlaw words and phrases because his staff will be more effective and word conscious communicators.