#68

Daily Express, April 10, 2017

Here the word ‘slower’ is used wrongly and correctly in the same story.

Slower is an adjective, for example ‘the race was run in a slower time’. However in the first instance it is wrongly used as an adverb to modify the verb ‘shrink’. The words that are needed here are the adverb and comparative ‘more slowly’. It is used correctly in the second instance, as an adjective to modify the noun phrase ‘brain cell loss’.

#67

i newspaper, April 11, 2017

A ‘clime’ is a region defined by its climate. It is often used in the plural, for example ‘He departed for the sunnier climes of the Mediterranean’. So it cannot be used as a synonym for weather or temperature.

#66

A jail housing some of Britain’s most evil killers has been offering them the chance of chemical castration in an effort to thwart their despicable urges. 

Frankland jail in Durham has instituted a new scheme which allows some of Britain’s most depraved inmates to undergo a form of chemical castration to sate their desires. 

Mail Online, April 9, 2017

To ‘sate’ means to satisfy a desire or an appetite to the full – the opposite of what is meant here. The appropriate word could be ‘suppress’, ‘subdue’, ‘curb’ or ‘extinguish’.

The word ‘jail’ and the phrases ‘some of Britain’s most’ and ‘chemical castration’ appear in both paragraphs. Almost the only difference between the paragraphs is the addition of the name of the prison in the second.

If a scheme is ‘instituted’ it is by definition new.

I would avoid words such as ‘depraved’ and ‘despicable’. They sound hysterical. I would replace ‘evil’ with ‘notorious’ for the same reason.

#65

Sunday Times, April 9, 2017 – Page 1

Here we have an oddly phrased quote, which is taken from a longer piece on Page 7.

Sunday Times, April 9, 2017 – Page 7

Turning to Page 7, we find that the word ‘kill’ has been missed out on Page 1. Now it makes sense! It really should be possible for the average person to copy and paste a quote without losing vital words.

#64

His coffin will be taken to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster where he will lay at rest for 24 hours.

BBC News online, April 9, 2017

Shocking ignorance from the BBC. The verb is ‘lie’, not ‘lay’, and the expression is ‘lie in rest’, not ‘at’.

This was corrected after some hours. However much later in the day this heading appeared in Mail Online:

Hero PC is flanked by police guard of honour as his body is brought to lay in the Palace of Westminster

This was not corrected by the next day.

For a full explanation of lie and lay, see Grammar in Style Matters.

#63

Daily Express, April 6, 2017

I must have seen this lazy intro, or its cousin ‘A political row erupted last night’, a million times. Apart from anything else, it’s not true. It is one rent-a-quote MP. You really have to think of an alternative.

This is the intro I would put on it:

THE amount of taxpayers’ cash given away in foreign aid soared by more than £1.2billion last year – a massive ten per cent.

Last night Tory MP Philip Davies said: etc.

Then take in the figures and the Government quote.

#62

i newspaper, April 7, 2017

The reason for the transplant is too far down the story, in the eighth par. I would also add a quote higher up.

This is how I would do the first few pars:

The first British patient to receive a double hand transplant has managed to write a letter of thanks to the surgeon who performed the operation.

Chris King, 57, said being able to complete the note had been one of the highlights of his first nine months since the pioneering operation. Another was being able to applaud his favourite rugby league team, Leeds Rhinos, once again.

“I can make a fist, I can hold a pen, I can do more or less the same functions as I could with my original hands,” he said. “There are still limitations but I’m getting back to the full Chris again.”

Looking at his hands, he added: “They are my boys, they really are.”

Mr King, from Rossington, near Doncaster, lost his hands, except the thumbs, in a work accident involving a metal pressing machine four years ago.

He was close to death but a team of “unsung heroes” at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital saved his life.

Consultant plastic surgeon Professor Simon Kay, who performed the first UK hand transplant, carried out Mr King’s surgery in July last year. He was the first person to have both hands replaced.

A couple of other points: the last par in the first leg starts with a hanging, or dangling, participle. This is a phrase which refers to the first subject mentioned after it. So this reads as if the unsung heroes were close to death, not the patient. Another great example of this was on BBC Radio 4: ‘Fifty years after his suicide, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has apologised to Alan Turing’.

In the caption, ‘fix himself a beer’ is an Americanism. In this country we would say ‘pour himself a beer’.

#61

Daily Telegraph, April 6, 2017

There must have been a comma famine at the Telegraph when this intro was done. The word ‘new’ is superfluous.

Near the top of the second leg there is a reference to ‘Frugalpac’. The average reader will not have a clue what this is. We are not told until the last par. When you introduce a new name such as Frugalpac you must make its function clear straight away.

#59

Daily Express, April 5, 2017

Windermere and all the other ‘meres’ in the Lake District do not take the prefix ‘Lake’, because ‘mere’ means ‘lake’. The same applies to Derwentwater and all the other ‘waters’. The only lake in the Lake District is Bassenthwaite Lake.

Incidentally, how ‘secret’ is a wedding at which pictures are taken by a news agency? (I did not cut the picture out.)