Plain Language Commission . Clear English Standard


  1. Writing Leeds to confusion
  2. Fall of Troy
  3. Plain language and the courts
  4. Pikestaff 75 – read it now
  5. Garner’s Modern English Usage ‘a huge achievement’
  6. Jottings
  7. Jargon for grown-ups
  8. English to be Latin of EU?
  9. Large amount of amounts
  10. ‘The reason is because’
  11. Clichés – ‘wash down’, again
Go to archive

News & views

Dull story gets more Boring as it goes on and on

[28 April 2012] When you live in the tiny Perthshire village of Dull, a parish council meeting can seem quite exciting, especially if it proposes a town-twinning compact with the city of Boring in Oregon, US. The prospect of transatlantic knees-ups and mutual incomprehension between people of different cultures must hove tantalizingly into view.

But it won’t be allowed, unfortunately, because the rules (whose Boring rules are those?) forbid miscegenation between a city and a mere village. So Dull may have to put up with becoming Oregon’s ‘sister community’ instead, villagers have been told. 

Now Dull is buzzing, in a languid droning sort of way, with the prospect of new road signs saying: ‘Welcome to Dull, sister community of Boring.’ Tourists may flock to the area to be photographed next to them, there being little else to do in Perthshire on a wet weekend.

Other mouthwatering prospects for this twinning malarkey include linking Cocking in Sussex with Intercourse in Pennsylvania, though Suffolk may try to get connected with them first, aided by the militant wing of the Simplified Spelling Society.

HockneyLargerBoring was named after William H Boring, an early resident of the area and former Union soldier in the American civil war. (He was not, apparently, a civil engineer, but the old Yellow Pages did use to say ‘For civil engineers, see ‘Boring’. Now that’s telling you, IK Brunel!) Dull’s name may have come from the Gaelic word for meadow, although some think it stems from the Gaelic word ‘dul’ meaning snare. (Yawn.)

There’s probably no connection between this story and David Hockney’s picture ‘In the Dull Village’ (1966), but a couple of naked bodies always livens up a page somewhat, don’t you think? [MC]

Yes, I accept the cookie. No, I decline the cookie. would like to place a cookie on your computer to help us make this website better. To find out more about the cookies, see our privacy policy