Peter Rhodes on hidden expletives, the yobs we'd love to export and the biggest own-goal in human history

After this week's item on the F-word, a reader writes to tell me that for the past 20 months he has been mouthing “**** off” at certain individuals beneath the safety of a face mask. He inquires: “'When masks are no longer worn, how can I stop doing it?”

PS: Younger members of my extended family insist the above is a viral story. Older members say, well, of course it is. They have different ideas of what a virus is.

It is entirely right and natural that we celebrate our footballing victory over Germany. For a few hours, or days, our nation understandably goes a little bonkers. But 100 years from now when historians examine the archives, they will be astonished that the Big News of June 2021, was considered to be a bunch of blokes kicking a ball about while the truly apocalyptic heatwave in western Canada was almost ignored.

Dozens of Canadians have perished as the temperatures in places that usually have a climate like England's have soared over 47C. If it can happen there, what's to stop it happening here? If human emissions are causing this carnage, this week's crisis in Canada could be the harbinger of the biggest own goal in human history.

The way we talk today. So, the energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan was on the radio to discuss state aid to UK industries in these bracing post-Brexit times and I, like, y'know, lost count of the times she said “y'know”. So she also introduced most of her answers with “so,” y'know. So, y'know, I got so fascinated counting all the “sos” and “y'knows” that I missed most of what she had to say about state aid. So, y'know, this happens a lot these days, innit?

How does that inspirational old motto about camping go? “Take away nothing but memories / Leave behind nothing but a charred wasteland scattered with faeces, empty lager cans and used condoms.” At least that's the rule seemingly followed by hordes of grotty outdoor partygoers who stand accused by residents and the Countryside Alliance of trashing beauty spots as they transfer their raves and festivals into rural settings, in defiance of lockdown. From Scotland to Cornwall, they have left a trail of destruction. Today, two great ambitions are emerging. Firstly, our yobs can't wait to get to the Med on holiday. Secondly, the rest of us can't wait for them to go.

Our changing language. The eagerness of some British journalists to embrace American terms knows no bounds. But if you're on this side of the pond writing for English readers and viewers, the building that collapsed in Florida's appalling tragedy was not a condominium, still less a condo. It was a block of flats.

But it raises an interesting point about American grammar. The Yanks insist that aluminium is aluminum. So why is a condominium not a condominum?

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