i newspaper, January 22, 2018

This should be ‘breech’, not ‘breach’.  A breach is a break, as in ‘a breach in the sea wall led to flooding’ or a ‘breach of manners’; breech is the word for a birth when the baby arrives feet first (it’s to do with trousers). I’ve put the byline in because this character has an occasional column in the i called ‘Pedant’s Corner’ (or it may be Pedants’ – subs pse check). This title really irritates me because it is suggesting that it is pedantic (a pejorative word) to want to get things right. I’ve been told I’m pedantic when I have insisted on the correct spelling of a word. Anyway, if he runs that kind of column he should be sure that every word that goes in under his name is correct.


The Times, January 22, 2018

This is not only sloppy but dangerous for the paper. Until the last paragraph, it looks very much as if the actress was persecuted while working on The Crown. Papers have paid damages for less.

The story should have started something like this:

An actress who appeared in the Netflix production The Crown has been awarded £10,500 after she was the victim of sexist abuse during a previous engagement.

Helen Haines was working with Rainbow Theatre Productions when . . .


The Times, January 18, 2018

You might say ‘sentenced to life’ in conversation but it is not acceptable in a news report. It must be ‘life imprisonment’ or ‘given a life sentence’. I would say ‘hid her body’ rather than ‘stashed’, which is a slang word usually referring to the storage of illegal drugs or contraband.


The Times, January 18, 2018

ECB stands for ‘England and Wales Cricket Board’, so obviously you don’t put ‘ECB board’. In a sports page (as this is) you don’t need to spell out ECB but it would be better to do so in the first reference on a news page. Thereafter it is either ‘the ECB’ or ‘the board’.


i newspaper, January 16, 2018

‘Passed away’ is a euphemism which should be used only as a last resort. In this case there is no need for it. You could end the intro at ‘band’, but you would still have a repetition of ‘singer’. It seems unlikely that a recording session would be held in a hotel. Since it is mentioned in the second par that she is Irish, you don’t need it in the intro, which could read as follows:

The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan has died at the age of 46. She was in London for a recording session with her new band and was found in her hotel room.


A plane cherished by its pilots and adored by the public: How the Spitfire became a symbol of national defiance and turned what could of been Britain’s darkest hour into its finest 

Mail Online, January 16, 2018

‘Could of’ and ‘would of’ are among the clearest signs of ignorance.  This is all the worse because the intro of the story has the correct ‘could have’:

A revolutionary aircraft that transformed the capability of the RAF, the Spitfire rightly became a symbol of national defiance, turning what could have been Britain’s darkest hour into our finest.       

This suggests to me either that someone is incapable of copying the phrase ‘could have’ or thought he or she knew better. Either way it’s pathetic.


The Times, January 13, 2018

From Style Matters, A-Z

defuse/diffuse: To defuse means to disable an explosive device by removing the fuse or reduce tension in a confrontation; to diffuse (verb) means to dilute or scatter, as in ‘the sunlight was diffused through the trees’, or it can be used an adjective as in ‘the diffused sunlight’. Watch out for this, as diffuse is often wrongly used in copy when defuse is meant.


The Times, January 10, 2018

Here is a brand new story about an inquest which happened yesterday, with details which have not been reported before, yet inexplicably the Times has chosen to start with three pars of history which everyone must have seen a thousand times in the 40-odd years since Lord Lucan disappeared. I can’t think of a single reason to bury a new story in the fourth par, apart from a shocking lack of professionalism.

The i newspaper showed how it should be done:

i newspaper, January 10, 2018