Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Monday, 28 March 2011

More Sloppiness

These have been collected from recent editions of the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, (with one ring-in from the Sun-Herald):

1. 'early in the film' might work better:

2. 'Will you, will you, will you ...' One 'will' would probably have been enough:

3. 'was hit on March 2' - possibly 'hit' might have been replaced by something slightly less jolting, like 'served' - certainly, my brain leapt to the conclusion at the end of that line that he had been hit with a brick or a chain, rather than with charges, which was confusing, as I got all outraged and then felt rather deflated:

4. I think 'the' would work better than 'its' before 'occupants' - alternatively change 'every' to 'each':

5. The cleaners either swept away the rubble or they swept it into piles that were taken away by others:

6. Perhaps this is not a mistake but a Freudian slip on the part of the Australian source; 'nothing could be further than the truth' may actually be what he said:

7. A few commas would not go astray, plus, if you use 'a', you cannot attach a plural noun to it:

8. It looks like they ran out of capitals after 'Collaborating' (whatever):

9. 'the lastest' - and possibly the roguest:

10. The whole point of the Coalition is to not be 'rad':

11. I wonder what uniforms those bureaucrats are wearing (or could it possibly be that they are actually 'uninformed'?):

12. There is a sentence here that needs to be rewritten, so that the reader doesn't get the idea that there are all sorts of crazy people running around at Al Jazeera wearing both burqas and strappy tops or, in the case of men, business suits combined with dishdashas - presumably some are wearing one thing and the others are wearing the other:

13. a 'be' appears to have gone mysteriously AWOL:

13. Ooh look, how pretty, a superfluous decorative dot:

14. The old positioning of 'either' problem - I think this should read, 'to try to either persuade Mr W and Mr O to change sides or render them so unpopular ....':

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Someone Forgot to Include a Full Stop

This is what happens when you read out a script that has not been properly copy edited.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Second Opinion

Someone I know was thinking of applying for a creative writing course at Glasgow University and asked me what I thought. Leaving aside the question of whether creative writing courses are useful, I couldn't help wondering about a course run by people who can't copy edit their own site (or am I showing my ignorance; is 'strucured' the Gaelic for 'structured'?:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Friday, 18 March 2011

Begin the Beguine

I had began thinking the Sydney Morning Herald might be getting better, but I may have began to begin a bit sooner than what I should have beginned:

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Apostrophe Alert

It's full term, tsk, tsk, Australian - van Onselen may regard political advertising as septic, but his newspaper's grammar is pretty rotten as well

Here Are Some I Made Earlier

In a ridiculous impression of an emu, I've not been reading the papers a lot lately, because the news has been so horrible (plus, when I've wanted to, I've been prevented.) However, I do have a few old errors saved up from issues of the Australian that appeared before the Japan earthquake - and I do intend to pull myself together and be a grown-up and start reading papers once again.

The first three examples here contain straight out errors :

The second two badly need some well-placed commas, in my view:

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Stay Calm

Again the wonderful R Merce has been doing my job and has come up with this article from the Age,  in which the grammatical plot is lost from time to time, until eventually the person responsible flips over into a panic-driven parallel universe where the United States presidency has been handed over to a person called Abreact Abearn

Monday, 7 March 2011

Wrong End of the Stick?

Having read the Sydney Morning Herald for quite a while, I have come to the conclusion that it is the unofficial mouthpiece of the ALP. In fact, it has almost become a mirror of the current federal government, with Lenore Taylor acting as the journalistic equivalent of Gillard, while Philip Coorey is happy to be a scribbling Wayne Swan (and Peter Hartcher both acting as Kevin Rudd and providing a direct feed from the man himself). Normally, when it comes to national politics the reporting guidelines adopted by Taylor and Coorey can be summed up thus: 'If you can't say something nice about the Gillard government, don't say anything at all.' It therefore came as quite a surprise to read this in this morning's edition:

Far be it from me to question the sages at the SMH, but my understanding is that Swan hit the airwaves yesterday in a bid to say exactly the opposite - his line was, as I understood it, that he and his government are not going to take anything out of our pay packets at all.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

From R Marce

R Marce points out that the Economist is not the journal of the record - and who has records any more anyway?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Saved by the Australian Literary Review

I was beginning to wonder what on earth I'd started here and how I was going to go on and on, when nothing seems to change at all, despite my grumpy bleating, (if, indeed, bleating can be grumpy). I'd gathered this collection of paragraphs containing flawed sentences that had been allowed to creep into print at either the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald or the Australian Financial Review, but my heart had gone out of the thing:

 (I think you will find that 'at least' is the more usual usage);
 (Given that the article is about Mr Redegalli, an artist who painted a mural in Newtown, it's surprising to discover he's a resident of somewhere called 'Newton');

 (I find the idea of 'processors of dairy farmers' worrying - what exactly is going into our milk bottles?);
 (What on earth does that comma think it's doing, after the word 'work'?);
 (Joe Tripodi now gets a definite article?);
 (Where Chubb stands on repetition of definite articles, however, is anyone's guess);
 (I don't normally advocate Spellcheck, but it is useful if you are a complete moron);
 (Meanwhile, I am 'dismayed at how seriously' the ability to use verbs amongst the copy-editing classes 'has been disintegrating' - yes, 'has been disintegrating' is how we would put it in English, rather than merely 'been disintegrating);
(Taxpayers are pesky creatures - even without a natural disaster they are inclined to have an impact, although usually at the ballot box, when they get the chance).

Anyway, that was then. I'm now over that moment of despondence, and I have my trusty pal, the Australian Literary Review, to thank for that. The March edition of the ALR came out yesterday morning and, as usual - at least since the arrival of Luke Slattery as editor - it did not disappoint, (or rather, it did, in the sense that it was its usual pompous but illiterate self.)

This month, Slattery has, with splendid originality (hem hem), decided to drag out the old Donald Horne - Lucky Country chestnut.

Gosh, who knew? Apparently, Horne regarded the Australian people as second rate and the phrase was meant ironically. Slattery explains all this to us in the manner of a father communicating with a particularly dim infant. He then goes on, hilariously, to suggest that things have grown even worse since Horne's original sally into the national patrician sport of slagging off those who are not part of the self-selecting elite. These days, Slattery reckons, the Australian people are not just second rate but third or even fourth rate, placing no value on their marvellous intellectuals ('like me, Luke Slattery', is, I suspect, the unspoken message within that argument).

All I can say is that Slattery's editing skills do seem to bear out his argument about a decline towards the fourth rate. However, outside of the glittering circles of the ALR offices, there are still citizens of Australia who, if not first rate, are still capable of sorting out the word order in a sentence, who don't regard 'around' as a word that goes with 'questions', ('about' is a perfectly good word in this context - what's everyone got against it all of a sudden?), and who do know where to put a definite article (and, yes, you are right if you suspect that the unspoken message in that sentence is 'me, for instance'):

('How Horne would rate Australia today?'; 'But questions remain around our universities' contribution ...'; 'A recent audit of university research showed that the while our scientists punch ...'

If you are mounting a case for your publication as a tiny intellectual outpost, isolated in a sea of Philistinism, it is important that you exhibit your credentials as an intellectual in everything you say, write and do.