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A recent newspaper item about the cost of Covid-19 to Australian businesses highlighted the fact that Flight Centre had “lost” $20 billion. Poets would welcome the chance to write lines where “cost” and “lost” are rhymed. In this case the newspaper took considerable poetic licence.

As Flight Centre is valued at about $5 billion, I’m not sure where it got that extra $15 billion that it could “lose”.

Of course any travel company, even one as good as Flight Centre, will face tough times with travel bans and local lockdowns, but we should be able to rely on our daily papers, or in fact on any organization, or on any individual (even me) to use the English language with such precision that meanings aren’t distorted and therefore capable of being easily misunderstood.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FowlersModernEnglishUsage.jpg downloaded 08/12/21