“The language is evolving …”

I know that, but I’d still like to know what YOU think about this sentence, which I heard this summer while camping in England: “We are currently having to deal with a large volume of calls and are unable to answer you now”. It may be (un)acceptable in different contexts, so please fill in this mini-survey (one sentence only) and let me know.

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3 Responses to “The language is evolving …”

  1. dembart says:

    Hi. I’m not sure I understand the question that you’re asking about in your mini-survey. Is there an error of grammar or usage and you’re trying to find out how many people think it’s an error of grammar or usage? Or are you asking whether people think it’s impolite to answer phone calls with such a message?

    • I think this is a great question – thank you for asking it! Politeness didn’t seem to be an issue to me when I heard it over the phone. I just thought the grammar was odd. There is a similar sentence in another survey (https://bridgingtheunbridgeable.com/2022/07/28/interactive-teamwork-survey/), and for the workshop I will be giving, I’d like to be able to compare attitudes to both sentences, so to the language itself, not to whether it is polite or impolite (did you think it was impolite?).

      • Lee Dembart says:

        Thanks very much for your reply. I asked about the sentence in your survey because, though I am usually very sensitive to errors of grammar and usage, real and imagined, I fail to see what the potential error is in your sentence. Where is the problem? What do some people object to? What am I missing?

        Because I didn’t see any grammatical error, I thought maybe the objection was that the message itself was impolite. Yes, I sometimes think such messages are indeed that. They are obviously lies, and they assume that callers who believe them are idiots. When a recorded message begins, “Your call is important to us,” I want to shout, “If my call is important to you, why don’t hire people to answer the phone?”

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