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This post is like one you've never read before.

May 15, 2009

Most of you have probably heard of The Apprentice. Some of you might even watch it; and some of you might also watch The Apprentice, You’re Fired. But have you ever registered what Surralan is actually saying, right at the beginning of the show?

“This job interview is like one you’ve never had before.”

What? That seems like a pretty amazing statement to me.

So, Surralan, what you’re saying is that The Apprentice does follow the same methods as other interviews – “This job interview is like [another] one ” – it’ just that “you’ve never had [a job interview like this] before.”

I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty impressed that Surralan goes to all the effort of:

a) determining which of all other interview processes follow the same methods as he does


b) excluding all candidates who have been on such interviews.

It reminds me of the BBC Food advert, starring Gary Rhodes, who scales up a cliff-face to tell two campers about to fry their sausages that…

“the secret is not to prick them”

What do you mean “the secret is not to prick them”? Don’t tell me what the secret isn’t, fool, tell me what it is.

(man, that advert used to drive me insane)

And finally…

Why? What else used to happen in this smoking area? The mind boggles…

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2009 9:21 am

    I heard on the radio a similar rant by someone at the phrase “a near miss”.
    He quite rightly pointed out that people use the phrase when referring to a miss and proposed that the phrase be updated to “a near hit”.

  2. May 18, 2009 9:43 am

    You idiothole.

    The “near” in “near miss” is there to differentiate between a miss that was close to being a hit, and a miss that was far from being a hit.

    A “near hit” makes no sense at all. What’s the alternative? A “far hit”?

  3. May 18, 2009 9:52 am

    Hmm, ok, well I’ll concede that your interpretation is the intention of the phrase, but it is ambiguous.

    Whereas your examples are not strictly ambiguous, they sitting ducks to a pedant.

    Do you think the correction should be: “the secret is to not prick them”?

  4. May 18, 2009 10:05 am

    What do you think? You think it should be “the secret is to not prick them”? Guess what; you’re wrong. Try again.

  5. May 18, 2009 10:35 am

    Well, in this case, my split infinitive is the best way I can think of to convey the point accurately.

    “The secret is to not prick them” sounds ok to me.
    “The secret is to leave them un-pricked” is weird.
    “The secret is: don’t prick them” sounds horrible.
    “The secret is: do not prick them” sounds worse.

    When I read them out loud [in my head], I find I need to take a bigger pause for the third and fourth ones, like I am actually pronouncing the colon.

    I’ve thought about this too much and it’s stopped making sense to me. What do you think?

  6. May 18, 2009 10:36 am

    PS. Fix your ordered lists

  7. May 18, 2009 4:00 pm

    I think that the closest to the original is “the secret is; don’t prick them” (note the correct use of the semi-colon). However, I would agree that this isn’t as aurally pleasing as it ought to be.

    Perhaps he should’ve said: “don’t prick them; that’s the secret [to perfect sausages]”.

    (I think that one of the reasons that permutations of the original sound so unsatisfactory is that it’s not really a complete sentence, and so you’re destined to fail unless you add some words and turn it into a Real Boy™).

    P.S. Identify the required change to my CSS and send me a patch.

  8. June 10, 2009 7:43 am

    The secret is:

    to keep the skins intact.
    to maintain the skins’ integrity.
    to build up pressure in the sausage. Pricking them releases the pressure, so you don’t want to do that.

  9. June 10, 2009 9:19 am

    The problem is the use of the word “secret”. If he’d just appeared over the cliff-edge and said…

    “They taste much better if you don’t prick them”

    …then that would have been the end of it.


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