Soon, very soon, I will be living in a registered heritage asset. Aren't I lucky? I used to live in a building, a listed building, but soon it will be a registered heritage asset.
Margaret Hodge, the blessed Margaret, inspired mangler of the English language (or at least nodder through of an underling's work) was taxed about this a couple of weeks ago on Radio 4. She laughed. "Oh, we'll soon get used to it," she said. Why should we? Why should we have to put up with this pompous waste of words? For a start, it's lazy. Australia already uses the term heritage asset, so instead of trying to think of something less clunky, our civil servants simply lifted the term, and then debased it still further by strapping "registered" onto it.
It is not just ugliness that riles me. My children are used to me leaping up and down when I find mistakes in writing (I have the excuse that one of my other businesses is proof-reading). The thing that drives me to apoplexy quicker than virtually anything else is when the apostrophe is not used correctly. Its and it's is one that particularly bugs me. I taught my daughter the difference, but then found looking through her books one Parent's Evening that she was getting it wrong. I mentioned this, in a steely manner, to her teacher, who said she would mention it to the teacher concerned, but that they thought the content of her writing was the important thing. When I got home, I asked my daughter what the difference between the two forms was, and she told me: 100% correct. So why don't you do it right at school? I asked. Because they don't bother what I put, she said.
It does matter, though. It matters that you get it right. If your spelling is right, and your punctuation correct then people can concentrate on what you say, rather than being distracted by your mistakes.
I found, thanks to Juliet, this site. Hurrah!
The English language can be confusing: I have a whole shelf of reference books and don't always get it right myself. But I do try, and there are always things I can learn.