Some years ago Giles Coren was upset when a sub deleted the word ‘a’ from his Times restaurant column. His memo about it went viral in the subbing world. Here are a couple of extracts (please do not read if foul language offends you):

Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed ‘a’ so that the stress that should have fallen on “nosh” is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not fucking rocket science. It’s fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and I have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

The way you avoid this kind of fuck-up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it’s easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.

Last week Coren put the wrong Latin phrase into his review (see Post #74). This week he has got a chef’s name wrong.

The Times, April 22, 2017

The normal shortening of Jonathan is Jonny, not Johnny, so, as Coren claims to have done, I looked it up on the internet – and lo and behold, it is Jonny Mills. Still, better to make mistakes than have subs changing your golden words.


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