The Times, March 28, 2017

I am astonished and disheartened that this headline must have been seen by several members of staff before it got into the paper, yet no one found ‘The cat’s out the bag’ unacceptable. This may be how characters speak in American novels, but it is not English. To compound the offence, it mixes singular (‘the cat’s’ and ‘is’) and plural (‘their’). Admittedly ‘their’ could be taken to mean ‘he or she’, but it is still clumsy. How about

The cat’s out of the bag: Its
indifference is just an act

which solves both problems and is a good fit.

Here’s an idea: let’s not bother with standards. Let’s use the first sloppy and inarticulate rubbish that comes to mind. Oh, wait – that’s what some people are doing already.


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