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Demise

May 17, 2017

Not last night but the night before, I was watching a BBC2 documentary about the giant asteroid, nine miles wide and travelling at 40,000 miles per hour, that hit the Earth 65 million years ago and sent the dinosaurs into extinction. Interesting subject. But why, when the presenter said “We may finally be able to paint a picture of the demise of the dinosaurs”, did I feel irritated?

Demise. I just don’t like that word. I think it stems from when I was writing an essay about Macbeth in the sixth form, and I used the phrase, “after the demise of King Duncan”, and my English teacher wrote in the margin “Please!”. I asked him what was wrong with it, and he said that the word sounded facetious, a pompous word used only by lawyers, journalists and humorists. Why not just say “death”, since that’s what I meant?

Well, you know what, Mr Giles, you were absolutely right. 38 years on I see just how right you were. I wish you’d been there to advise that presenter.

P.S. May I bring to your attention my comic fantasy YA novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers – here is the link: https://unbound.com/books/adam-gowers . Go there and you will see a neat little 2-minute video of me explaining why the time for this novel has come! And if you support it you will get your name in the back and an invitation to the launch party.

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3 Comments
  1. Simon Carter1 permalink

    The difference may be that death refers to living things and demise to inanimate entities like machinery or concepts.

  2. Mark Brafield permalink

    Dan Giles …..brilliant teacher.

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