Subtext is All
Copy-editors and proofreaders are well-used to the sophistry of language, its nuances and deceptive guises. Sometimes it may be the copy-editor’s job to clarify and explain, but very rarely; this strays into the realm of rewriting. And the proofreader would never edit an author’s work however much their words jarred.
Estate agents are much-maligned for over-egging their puddings, but often unfairly so. Of course, they use cliches; we all do, otherwise they wouldn’t be cliches. But it’s a tough job to please a seller and describe his house, his pride and joy, without hyperbole or time-worn phrases.
But what do the phrases really mean?
Here are a few attempts at decoding them. A few more later in the month, perhaps.
A rare opportunity… A really weird house which defies description but will appeal to an equally eccentric buyer.
Planning consent for extension… Tiny at present or oddly arranged and the owner has given up and will probably take a offer.
Period… Anything pre Bovis.
Period features… It’s got a fireplace.
Edwardian… It’s quite old, but hasn’t got beams or an inglenook. Might be Victorian or twenties or even thirties. When was Edward exactly?
Light and airy… Blows a gale through ill-fitting sashes.
Courtyard garden… More yard than court, but somewhere to keep the junk and rusting barbecue.
Waterside location… Check whether you can insure it. What does it smell like when the tide is high or during yet another wettest February on record?
Well-proportioned… Rooms are of different sizes and we can’t think of anything else to say.
Tastefully decorated… Bland and completely unobjectionable but obviously lacking any discernible taste.
Well-loved family home… Cluttered, messy, scuffed and a nightmare to sell except to a desperate family with the start of term looming.
Recently renovated… Overpriced by seller anxious to recoup overspend on development.
In good order… Really exceptionally boring.
Tucked away… Buy a tractor.