i newspaper, June 30, 2018

Ok, this is what I think: it is stupid to give only the ‘after’ picture and not the ‘before’ one for readers to compare the two, especially if you then invite their views on the restoration. Half the story is about another restoration job which is not pictured at all. Cretinous.


As for Jackson, well, he had an insatiable taste for the baroque, which he sometimes sated with a shopping spree

Will Gompertz, Arts Editor, BBC News Online, June 30, 2018

Definition of ‘insatiable’: impossible to satisfy

Definition of ‘to sate’: to satisfy to the full

So obviously one of them has to go. The problem lies with ‘insatiable’ which applies to a desire or appetite. You can’t really have an insatiable taste. I am not sure you can even qualify ‘taste’. You either have a taste for something or you don’t. The makers of Marmite have built the brand on this. The best thing to do is probably change the phrase to ‘craving’ or ‘thirst’.


        i newspaper, June 26, 2018

Imagine you are a sub on the i newspaper, and a story comes up containing the name ‘Forthland Road’. Do you think:

(a) ‘Hmm, that’s an unusual name, I’d better check it’;

(b) ‘Well, if Simon Kelner wrote it, it must be right’;

(c) ‘Who cares? I certainly don’t’.

As every Beatles fan knows, the correct name is Forthlin Road; there is no road in the country called ‘Forthland’.

The word for a house in a continuous row is a ‘terrace’ house. ‘Terraced’ refers to sloping land carved into level steps for cultivation. I am sorry to say that many authorities get this wrong, but now you can get it right.



i newspaper, June 19, 2018

‘Laconic’ means ‘using very few words’, usually in connection with speech, as in ‘His reply was laconic’, or occasionally in connection with writing style. It cannot be used in connection with swinging glasses, whether in your hand or with your feet.


After 211 years of ale-making, Daniel Thwaites Plc has this week been forced to declare the premature closure of its brewery following an invasion by travellers who razed the place to the ground over the last Bank Holiday weekend.

Mail Online, June 16, 2018


You need to look at the story to appreciate this one. Not only is ‘to the ground’ unnecessary because ‘to raze’ means ‘to reduce to ground level’, but it is not true – the building is still standing, as the pictures make clear. What, if any, thought process went into this?


The Times, June 14, 2018

(63 words) This is almost certainly the most useless court report I have ever seen. Among the basic things you must cover are:

What court is it? (Southwark Crown Court)

When was the hearing? (Yesterday)

What are the charges? (24 serious sexual assault charges against 11 boys aged between 14 and 16, alleged to have taken place between 1970 and 1988)

What is the plea? (Not guilty)

Is the trial continuing? (Yes)

Instead we get two sentences which more or less duplicate each other. The identity of the prosecuting counsel is not interesting. It baffles me how such sub-standard work can get into the paper. Is there no revising done at The Times? Or is it no longer considered necessary to do it right? Is the attitude that any old thing will do if it fills the space?

This is how I would have done it:

Former DJ and pop star Jonathan King, 73, lured teenage boys to his flat in Bayswater, central London, for sex by pretending that Page Three girl Samantha Fox was his girlfriend, a jury at Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday. King denies 24 charges of serious sexually assaulting 11 boys aged 14 to 16 between 1970 and 1988. The trial continues. (60 words)


As regular readers know, I usually avoid Mail Online because it is just too easy, but I could not resist this bumper bundle from today’s (June 12, 2018) report on the meal served at the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. Translations supplied.

six-course meal that included three deserts (= desserts)

Singaporese dishes (= Singaporean)

Hennesey cognac (= Hennessy)

Hennesy ( = ditto)

prawn’s cocktail ( = prawn)

Haagendazs vanilla iced cream (Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream)

preferred flavor ( = flavour in UK)

potato dauphinois ( = dauphinoise)

Crystal ( = Cristal champagne)

HOW DO CONCLUDE THIS? ( = gibberish)

And, fittingly, this is how the story ends:

Time magazine reported early in the administration that Trump got served two scoops of vanilla iced cream at the White House, while guests got a single scoop, although




 The couple have three children, a son, Jasper, and twin daughters, Monica and Octavia (both 14)

Wikipedia entry

You do not need to say ‘both’ aged xx with twins, as by definition they will share a birthday unless they are among the very rare pairs born each side of midnight. Nor do you need to say ‘who are not identical’ if they are a boy and a girl. Yes, it is stupid, but I have seen it several times.


Sunday Times, June 10, 2018

‘Rankle’, meaning ‘to irritate’ or ‘to anger’, is an intransitive verb, so it does not take an object. A similar verb is ‘fester’. You could say ‘The experience rankled with his barrister’ or ‘The experience annoyed/irritated/angered his barrister’.

From the same column:

‘Attend to’ means to look after or deal with. The word wanted here is simply ‘attend’, meaning in this context ‘to accompany’, in the abstract rather than the physical sense.


          i newspaper, June 1, 2018

There is only one heir to the throne and that is the Prince of Wales. Technically he is the ‘heir apparent’. Second in line is the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George is third. The correct expression would be ‘Prince George, who is third in line to the throne’.