#319

Daily Express, January 5, 2018

Two errors conveniently packaged in one word. An antenna can be an insect’s feeler, when the plural is antennae, or part of a radio receiver, when the plural is antennas. Here this is a metaphor for a radio receiver, but the writer has chosen the insect one, and mixed up singular and plural into the bargain. It should be ‘a uniquely well-tuned political antenna’; I shouldn’t think you need more than one for political purposes.

#318

Sunday Express, December 21, 2017.

Geese are birds. Birds lay eggs. Eggs hatch. Birds are ‘hatched’, not ‘born’.

It looks amateur to have ‘seen’ and ‘saw’ in the same sentence.¬† I don’t like the construction anyway. ‘Hit with deep snow’ is odd. This would be one way to do it:

The weather round the country has been extremely mixed over the last few days. Goslings hatched in mild temperatures in Rotherhithe, east London, while families in Yorkshire and other counties went sledging in deep snow.

 

#317

The Times, January 2, 2017

‘May’ and ‘might’ are often confused but in this context the difference is reasonably simple. ‘May’ is for an event which has had a definite outcome, but it is not yet known. For example, ‘the Greens may have won the General Election, but we won’t know until the votes are counted’. ‘Might’ is for an outcome which is known, but which could have been different. For example, ‘England might have won the Ashes if they had scored more runs.’ Here the outcome is known (a lot of cars were destroyed) but with sprinklers some would probably have been undamaged.¬† Therefore this should read:

Sprinklers might have stopped a fire wrecking  . . .

If in doubt, ‘could’ is usually a suitable alternative.

#314

Sun on Sunday, December 31, 2017

This is sheer ignorance. ‘Her’ is either a possessive, as in ‘Margaret wrote to her friend’, or an object, as in ‘I saw her in the distance’. The pronoun needed here is ‘she’, used for someone already mentioned. Assuming that one person handled the story and one person read a proof, there are at least two people working on a national Sunday paper who do not know this most basic piece of grammar.