The Times, December 28, 2023

Unless you are told otherwise, you can assume that stories are about human beings, or ‘people’. You do not need to keep reminding your readers. In this story the first ‘people’ is fine as we don’t know whether the injured were male or female.  The second is unnecessary: ‘a crowd’ is obviously composed of people.  The third and fourth are part of a section which is more or less a repeat of the intro.

The use of the tense ‘has died’ is odd as it suggests that the man died later, when the story says he was dead at the scene. There is no clue as to what day the incident happened (it should say ‘yesterday’). And as usual the writer believes that ‘after’ and ‘when’ are synonyms. As it reads, the car hit the crowd and at some later time (‘after’) they were injured.

The main fault with the intro and the heading is that they leave out the murder aspect. There are many fatal road accidents, not so many when the action is considered to be deliberate. If I had been subbing this I would have done this heading and intro (note correct use of ‘when’ and ‘after’, and information about when it happened):

Murder arrest after man
dies when car hits crowd

A MAN was arrested on suspicion of murder after a car ploughed into a crowd, killing a man and injuring seven other people, in Sheffield yesterday afternoon.


1 thought on “#577”

  1. You often hear the same strange use of tenses in modern police-speak: “At 10.30 last night a male has entered the premises”.

    Some cash machines display the message: “We will have checked your card in a few moments”. There’s nothing grammatically wrong with that but it’s an odd way of putting it.

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