For god’s sake shut up

I don’t know if you’ve spent any time trawling through estate agency websites, but if you’re anything like me (crotchety, pedantic, prone to tutting) you get fed up with the awful mangling of language that goes on. It seems like every flat is a “property” or “instruction” and “benefits from” wood flooring and is “moments from transportation links”.
I took matters into my own hands, and with the help of a Firefox add-on called FoxReplace, 4 hours on a Sunday evening, and a rudimentary knowledge of regular expressions, managed to turn this:

into this:

Just the facts,  please!

Here’s a sample of one of the regular expressions, designed to weed out pointless adverbs. I even managed to build in a filter for common spelling errors (the question mark in regular expressions means that the preceding character can appear or not and the operation will still be carried out, so both “truly” and “truely” will be caught):

<input type=”regexp”>”(increasingly|beautifull?y|enviably|generously|very|extremely|conveniently|wonderfull?y|true?ly)”</input>

There are still a few things to iron out, and I can’t keep up with their spelling mistakes so will have to concede defeat there. But it crunches down the text by as much as a third and makes a grim task a bit more palatable.


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