Daily Express, January 5, 2018

Two errors conveniently packaged in one word. An antenna can be an insect’s feeler, when the plural is antennae, or part of a radio receiver, when the plural is antennas. Here this is a metaphor for a radio receiver, but the writer has chosen the insect one, and mixed up singular and plural into the bargain. It should be ‘a uniquely well-tuned political antenna’; I shouldn’t think you need more than one for political purposes.


Sunday Express, December 21, 2017.

Geese are birds. Birds lay eggs. Eggs hatch. Birds are ‘hatched’, not ‘born’.

It looks amateur to have ‘seen’ and ‘saw’ in the same sentence.  I don’t like the construction anyway. ‘Hit with deep snow’ is odd. This would be one way to do it:

The weather round the country has been extremely mixed over the last few days. Goslings hatched in mild temperatures in Rotherhithe, east London, while families in Yorkshire and other counties went sledging in deep snow.



The Times, January 2, 2017

‘May’ and ‘might’ are often confused but in this context the difference is reasonably simple. ‘May’ is for an event which has had a definite outcome, but it is not yet known. For example, ‘the Greens may have won the General Election, but we won’t know until the votes are counted’. ‘Might’ is for an outcome which is known, but which could have been different. For example, ‘England might have won the Ashes if they had scored more runs.’ Here the outcome is known (a lot of cars were destroyed) but with sprinklers some would probably have been undamaged.  Therefore this should read:

Sprinklers might have stopped a fire wrecking  . . .

If in doubt, ‘could’ is usually a suitable alternative.


Sun on Sunday, December 31, 2017

This is sheer ignorance. ‘Her’ is either a possessive, as in ‘Margaret wrote to her friend’, or an object, as in ‘I saw her in the distance’. The pronoun needed here is ‘she’, used for someone already mentioned. Assuming that one person handled the story and one person read a proof, there are at least two people working on a national Sunday paper who do not know this most basic piece of grammar.


Sunday Times, December 31, 2017

Honestly, anyone who thinks this is an acceptable heading is in the wrong job. It’s not clever, it’s silly and juvenile.

If you want a smart heading, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this:

Cattle do nicely

I would go for something sweeter, such as

For the love of cows



i newspaper, December 30, 2017

(This wouldn’t quite fit in my scanner, but you get the idea).

I cannot understand what kind of disturbed mind would choose to list the interviewees in any order but left to right, which has been the standard  way since the dawn of time, and is what readers expect. There is no logic to this.


The Times, December 30, 2017

This is a common error. To infer is to deduce from the evidence, as in ‘he inferred from the state of the body that the victim had been dead for weeks’. The word wanted here is ‘imply’, which means to hint or suggest.