Briefly Comprising…

I cannot believe I’m the only one who gets nigh-on apoplectic when I look at estate agents’ grammar. Let’s face it, no kid goes to their careers officer and tells them that what they’ve always dreamed of was running away to Foxtons, but really – these guys are trying to sell something. They have a few precious words in which to do it. You’d think they’d use them wisely.

I’m not talking about the usual cliches – “bijou” (small) “cosy” (ditto) “compact” (ditto) “ideal renovation opportunity” (falling down) “individual” (weird) “sought-after area” (anywhere) “quiet” (miles away) “ideal transport links” (backs onto the Blackwall Tunnel Approach) “exposed beams” (exposed sky, too) “easily manageable” ( back to ‘small’ again…)

These are so bloomin’ obvious they don’t actually get used very much any more and when they are I almost enjoy them in a nostalgic kind of way – the same way I enjoy Prawn Cocktail, Black Forest Gateau and cheese and pineapple cubes on sticks. Or maybe it’s more Blue Nun and Sparkling Pomagne…

No – it’s the way they mangle the English Language that gets me. Here is the phrase I’ve just seen that inspired this post:

“…within a mile radius of Greenwich Village”

This gets three of my worst goats in one succinct sentence.

“Radius.” Surely a radius is round. Not a posh way of referring to any old distance from A to B.

“Within.” The usual use for “within” in the Estate Agent lexicon is a fancy word for “in.” As in “situated within a highly sought after area.” Here, of course, if “radius” was working, this would actually be necessary, but it’s not, so it’s just irritating the hell out of me.

“Greenwich Village.” Have you ever heard anyone who isn’t an estate agent refer to our town centre as “Greenwich Village?” Greenwich Village is in effing New York. We have the original. We don’t need to tack “village” on the end of it to make it look cute.

It doesn’t stop there, of course. Other phrases I detest: “briefly comprise” – “boasting a..,” “at an asking price of…” and those horrid jaunty, jokey ads with the comedy-pun headlines.

The one I hate most of all?


A home is what one makes of a building. Until it is inhabited and loved, a property is a house/flat/room/whatever. It is not a home.

Sorry. Not sure where that came from. Attacking an easy target is pretty rubbish of me, really. I’m even covering old ground – I’ve grumbled about all this before. I should just let it lie. I seem to be back to being a Grumpy Old Phantom again…

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