The Times, October 31, 2017

I have seen this error many times. ‘Coruscating’ means ‘brilliant’ or ‘sparkling’, like a diamond. The word wanted here is probably ‘excoriating’, meaning ‘blistering’ in the sense of severe criticism.


i newspaper, October 31, 2017

This is nothing like the plot of A Room with a View (Lucy Honeychurch is chaperoned in Italy by her cousin Charlotte, played by Maggie Smith). It  proves that everything needs to be checked.


Sunday Telegraph, October 29, 2017

I am sure Mr Kay Gladstone is well-known and respected in museum circles, but he is hardly a household name and his presence in this heading is mystifying to the reader. The only names that should be used in headings are those that are known to every single reader, such as Theresa May and Simon Cowell.


Sunday Times, October 29, 2017

I find this incredible. How can you possibly send this through without the relevant ages? I timed how long it took me to find out on the internet: 20 seconds. (If you would like to know, Dyche and Guardiola are 46, while Pochettino is 45.) If the writer has not got the wit to find room in 1,000 words for the ages, it is the sub’s job to rescue him. What have these people got between the ears?


The Times, October 28, 2017

Harry Kane was injured last weekend and will not be playing. Presumably six days’ notice was not enough for the Times to pull the picture and the reference. In any case, it is asking for trouble to preview sports events in this way, with the risks of injury and bad weather. There is no rule that there has to be a picture preview. Why not just list the events?


The Times, October 26, 2017

Did an eight-year-old write this? There is always a better word than the childish ‘get’. In this case, ‘Too small to be removed by filters or sewage treatment plants, the fibres are washed into the sea . . .’


The Times, October 26, 2017

Aaargh. I must have seen this heading scores of times. This is my entry in the Cliches section of Style Matters:

up, up and away on any story about balloons, helicopters or assorted flying objects. This was the title of a truly frightful 60s pop song, and it hasn’t got any better for being dragged out at regular intervals for nearly 50 years. I am begging you.

To prove the point, the Daily Express came up with the same lazy, banal line:

Daily Express, October 26, 2017

PS: I’ve just noticed ‘born aloft’ in the second line. ‘Born’ means that his mother gave birth to him in the air. The word for ‘carried’ is ‘borne’.


The Times, October 26, 2017

This couple are called Hill, so they are the Hills. They live in the Hills’ house. I think the problem with this may have arisen because the name ‘Hills’ is also common. If you switch to a name which is never plural, such as Ashworth, you can see that you would not say the Ashworths’s home, but the Ashworths’ home. (If the couple were called Hills, they would be the Hillses, and they would live in the Hillses’ house. See the entry on plural names in the general topics section of Names in Style Matters.)

The Daily Express also had problems with the name:

Daily Express, October 26, 2017

There is no earthly reason why there should be an apostrophe here.


i newspaper, October 25, 2017

Obvious question (1): How does Matthew’s family afford all this? Answer: Loganair gives him free flights.

i newspaper, October 25, 2017

Obvious question (2): How long is the border? Answer: 1,900 miles.

When I was a young sub, finding the answer to a question that was a glaring hole in a story involved going to the library, asking for a reference book or folder of cuttings then searching through same. Now it is literally a matter of seconds to find what you need on the internet. There is no excuse for sending through lazy stories like these.