In the late 1980s, or thereabouts, a Portuguese minister was first item on the BBC television news, having complained about being ‘deceived’ by Margaret Thatcher, at an EU meeting. He appeared rather baffled to be in the studio, played down the significance of the remarks, and the presenter quickly moved on to the next item. It is very possible that he merely meant to say that he felt decepção (disappointment) at the then British Prime Minister’s stance.
There exists something of a myth that, because language evolves continually, and many words have multiple or elastic definitions, therefore one can never be precise in language. I assert that there is such a thing as an error of vocabulary; that dictionaries exist for a very good reason, and that it is a professional, polite and smart discipline to know the formal definitions, and use them. Read more “Precision-engineered language”