Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bluff and bluster

Guardian blogger Seth Freedman makes a schmuck of himself in this piece on Jewish campaigning groups:
It is precisely this kind of vague, indistinct approach to the conflict that has prevented IJV from being taken seriously in the circles it should have been reaching out to from the start. For all its bluff and bluster, it never stood a chance at challenging an august institution such as the BoD. It relied on rhetoric and hyperbole rather than firm positions based on belief and commitment - in short, all mouth and no trousers.

'Rhetoric and hyperbole' translate to 'mouth', yes - but you've got problems if you confuse 'firm positions based on belief and commitment' with the 'trousers' themselves rather than their metaphorical contents.

As the Guardian style guide correctly prescribes:
all mouth and trousers
not "all mouth and no trousers"

Monday, November 05, 2007

No quotes

A couple of examples of the bastardised version cropped up last week in direct quotes in contrasting items. In one case, it rather weakens the point being made; in the other, it just confirms your suspicion that folk who don't quite grasp the proper phrase tend to exemplify its meaning.

First, from a press release from War on Want:
Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "Another government inquiry into supermarkets has found evidence of abuse, but failed to take action. [...] Unless a regulator is appointed, ministers’ rhetoric on the need to make poverty history will seem like all mouth and no trousers."
Good cause. Crap grasp of the language.

Second, from a largely incomprehensible PR industry story from North-West media site How-Do:
The poor uptake led Slam’s Chris Dolan to comment: “Seems our other counterparts are all mouth and no trousers."
A PR chap talking ignorant nonsense. Who'd have thought it?