i newspaper, November 23, 2022

Funny that this is about a sort of goldfish, a species which is supposed to have a three-second memory. This is a myth (they have good memories), but obviously it applies to the sub who handled this and failed to notice that the fish weighed 28kg at the start of the piece and 30kg at the end.

The reader has no need to be told in the headline that the angler was British. Unless told otherwise, one can assume the subject of a story in a British newspaper is British, not Mongolian.

The ‘i’ has the annoying feature of putting a tag above every headline (I think this is a device to soak up space so that it can get away with processing fewer words in copy). Was ‘People’ really the best tag? On a story about a fish?

Lastly, isn’t this a story that cries out for a picture? Is it worth using without? This is how Sky News did it (the story is almost equally bad but I have run out of energy).


Times, November 21, 2022

This is like another regular nonsense, ‘the priceless diamond worth ¬£5million’. It beats me how you can write/let through the word ‘counts’ and have forgotten it six words later.


i newspaper, November 16, 2022

Times, November 16, 2022

I am really fed up with the clich√© ‘going under the hammer’ in every story about an auction. Here are two on one day. Apart from anything else, even though it is only a figure of speech, it creates a visual impression, and neither cake nor jewellery come out of it well. Nor do paintings, porcelain, classic cars or any of the myriad items that are sold by auction.

In any case, it is not necessary to use the expression. In the first story you could say ‘is to be auctioned’ in the first reference and ‘sold’ in the second. In the second story you could say ‘is to be auctioned next month’. In both cases I would add the years of the weddings (2005 and 2011) to emphasise that these are rather ancient pieces of cake.



Spectator, November 5, 2022

This is a good example of a sub missing a chance to save the writer from an error. She has confused ‘can’t hold a candle to’, meaning ‘not nearly as good as’, with ‘I don’t carry a torch for’, meaning to be in love with someone, usually unrequitedly. Obviously the sub didn’t know what the expression ‘hold a candle to’ means, so he or she should have looked it up. This is the whole point of subbing – all writers make mistakes and we should stop them getting into print. All subs make mistakes too, but that is a different story.


i newspaper, November 3, 2022

If you have a picture with the King in it, you really do not need to point out that the other person is on the left. In my opinion this is a pretty lousy picture anyway and not worth using since you can’t see Bhaskar’s face.


i newspaper, November 3, 2022

This is one of the most common errors, and a sure sign of ignorance. A ‘palette’ refers to an artist’s paintboard or to a suite of colours; the word wanted here is ‘palate’ which is either the roof of the mouth or one’s flavour preferences. There is also ‘pallet’, meaning a wooden base for heavy goods in transit such as building materials, and that often gets a misplaced outing too.