The Times, April 26, 2018

My scanner could not cope with the whole article, but the caption is self-explanatory. This is an error of editorial judgment rather than subbing – how can you possibly suggest that certain artworks are copied or derived from others without showing the originals? Done this way, it is pointless.


The Times, April 26, 2018

A headline must be an accurate reflection of the story, but there is no mention of loans here. Indeed the expression ‘had given modest sums’ sounds like gifts. In fact it seems from other sources that Ms Bulford mentioned ‘loans and advances’. I presume that has been cut. You can’t write a headline on what you imagine to be there.


Daily Express, April 23, 2018

It used to be considered correct to put ‘an’ before a word beginning with ‘h’ in which the second syllable was stressed, as in ‘horrific’ and ‘horrendous’. These days it looks precious. Don’t use ‘an’ before ‘hotel’ either. The only time to use ‘an’ before a word beginning with ‘h’ is when the ‘h’ is silent, as in ‘honour’ or ‘hour’.

It would have been nice to have a full point at the end of the third par, but perhaps it was too much trouble.


The Times, April 21, 2018

‘Relish’ is a transitive verb, which means it must have an object, in the same way as ‘like’ or ‘enjoy’. You couldn’t put ‘She liked that some members would be upset’. The sentence could be ‘She relished the prospect that some members would be upset’ or ‘She relished the fact that . . .’

An intransitive verb does not have an object. Examples include ‘sneeze’ and ‘die’.


The Times, April 18, 2018

Caledonia was the Roman name for Scotland but there is no place called that now except in a romantic or poetic sense.  The picture was taken in the Caledonian Forest. The name of the competition is Mammal Photographer of the Year, not Mammals. I don’t think it is up to the Times to say whether the winning picture is ‘clever’. That is for the readers to decide.


The Times, April 17, 2018

The function of a paragraph is that it contains one idea. At the same time it is newspaper practice to have a full line at the top of a leg. It does look odd to have a short line, as you often have at the end of a paragraph. Here the person responsible for the appearance of the page has taken the easy way out and simply run two paragraphs together. So you have a paragraph about both rats and the castaway, and it grates. In my view the words should take precedence, and you need to find a different way to do it. This might involve cutting a few words somewhere to change where the end of the paragraph falls. A suitable cut here would have been ‘secure’ from the first full par shown, since a haven by definition is a safe or secure place. You could also take out ‘after a survey of the islands’. Or you could change the size of the picture, in this case the map. It is a pretty pathetic map anyway since you would need a magnifying glass to see where the Shiant Isles are.

Incidentally, ‘castaway’ is a  noun, not an adjective, so ‘castaway woman’ is strange. You could say ‘the female castaway’ or just ‘the castaway’.



i newspaper, April 14, 2018

From the Oxford Dictionary:

village (noun) A group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area (my emphasis).
The only time you need to modify ‘village’ is if you are talking about a non-rural metaphor such as ‘Olympic village’  or ‘urban village’.


The Times, April 12, 2018

There is obviously a line to be drawn on Americanisms. I was taught that no one would ever say ‘season ticket holder’ (English) rather than ‘commuter’ (American), because the American is better and more accurate. No one would object to an aircraft being described as a ‘plane’ (American) as opposed to an ‘aeroplane’, as the RAF used to – and may still – insist.

But ‘sailboat’ is ugly and not used in Britain, even Torquay. If you want to use the kicker ‘Still stylish’ you need to say what vintage the vessel is. One other thing: What sunshine? The sky is plainly overcast.