English In Use – ‘Flapjack whack rap claptrap”

A selection of headlines from stories in the news. They use English in a way that you might think is intended to confuse but it’s all perfectly clear to the native speaker.

This amazing front page headline (I guess they couldn’t resist) comes from the Sun.  It’s all about a new health and safety (Elf ‘n Safety) scare regarding flapjacks (chewy biscuits made from rolled oats, golden syrup or honey, fat (usually butter) and sugar).  A school in Essex has banned triangular shaped flapjacks after a boy was hit in the face with one.  Staff can now only serve square or rectangular ones.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We often come across half-baked decisions taken in the name of health and safety, but this one takes the biscuit,” he then quite rightly pointed out, “‘“The real issue isn’t what shape the flapjacks are, but the fact that pupils are throwing them at each other.”

So, let’s analyse the headline – Flapjack – biscuit – whack – hit – rap – being caught doing it – claptrap – nonsense.



I am a director of the Learn English Network. A non-profit organisation registered in the UK dedicated to helping people learning English and people who teach English online.

Learn English 2019