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.


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.


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’.


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.


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.)


i newspaper, April 6, 2017

The word ‘people’ is rarely necessary. Who or what else would apply to university? Giraffes? Zombies?

The intro could be

The number of applications to study at UK universities and higher education institutes has fallen.


Applications to study at UK universities and higher education institutes have fallen.

The heading could be

Drop in applications to
study at UK universities

which would be a better shape, too.


The Times, April 5, 2017

This is a worthy candidate for worst intro of all time. It is too bad to analyse. The story then drivels on about the meaning of the Latin words when it should be about the protest.

This is the way to do it:

i newspaper, April 5, 2017

It would be hard to improve this.


Daily Express, March 31, 2017

‘Ashen’ is the adjective for something the colour of ash. So this means ‘ash-colour-coloured’. In any case we have already been told that the pizza base is black, so this is needless repetition. I would delete the words ‘the ashen-coloured base and’. This gives you a reasonable sentence.

The repetition of ‘taste’ in the first two pars could be avoided by using ‘flavour’.

You do not need to repeat ‘supermarket’ in the second paragraph. Everyone knows what a chain is in this context. Actually it would be better to put Waitrose at the end of the second paragraph and ‘chain’ in the third.

Later, you cannot end one quote and start another in this way. It looks like an error, as if the quotes have wrongly been closed after the first paragraph. The way to do it is to end the first quote and start the next paragraph with ‘A Waitrose spokesman added:  . . .’

This would give you:

IT’S a taste we’ve all achieved accidentally, but now a supermarket has launched the charcoal pizza, complete with black base.

Made from hand-stretched sourdough with charcoal in the mix, its bitter flavour is part of a new foodie fad, according to Waitrose.

Manisha Kotecha, the chain’s pizza developer, explained: “With the growing popularity of charcoal in food and drink, and the striking visual that it delivers, we know our wood-fired anti-pasti pizza will be a big hit.”

A Waitrose spokesman added: “The crisp base [take in the rest].

The heading is dreadful. How can a fad serve up anything?

Pizza that’s meant
to taste of charcoal

is exactly the same character count, and it makes sense.




She also takes home £940,000 in prize money in claiming what was her third WTA Tour success from a fourth final.

BBC Sport website, April 2, 2017

The words ‘what was’ are ugly and unnecessary. Delete them and you get

She also takes home £940,000 in prize money in claiming her third WTA Tour success from a fourth final.

which is so much better.