Daily Express, August 10, 2019

Parents adopt a baby, who is then ‘adopted’.  The parents are ‘adoptive’ parents.

PS A reader writes: Just looked it up – turns out the baby was biologically theirs, so no adoption involved at all. Goodness knows what word was meant to go there.


i newspaper, August 5, 2019

The first person to cross the Channel has by definition been successful – how can you do it unsuccessfully?

Apart from that, ‘to successfully cross’ is an ugly and unnecessary split infinitive. I don’t go to the wire any more about split infinitives, but in this case ‘successfully to cross’ would be much pleasanter and classier to read.



i newspaper, August 5, 2019

Unless you tell the reader what the present level is, for example 8.1metres, 15metres, 25metres, he or she cannot know whether the target 8metres is close to being reached or if there is a long way to go.

The water is not lowering itself, so I would say you need the passive voice, i.e. the water ‘has been lowered’.

I would also like an imperial equivalent once in a while.





Unusual item handed in to Merseyside police during firearms surrender

Warrington Guardian

What was it? A wooden leg? A banana? A first edition of the Gutenberg Bible?

No, it was a cannon shell from a Harrier jump-jet. So why didn’t the idiot sub say so in the headline?

‘Unusual item’ indeed. Harrumph.

Contributed by Tom McCarthy