Tuesday, 31 May 2011


It seems that pedantry is gaining support in powerful places. If you read this guide from Google on how it ranks sites on the web, it becomes clear that attention to detail, that mainstay of a copy editor's life, is an important ingredient in gaining Google's respect.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Guardian

I'm in Hungary and the Guardian costs 680 HUF over here. At that price, I feel I should be getting a flawless paper, but it is, of course, the Guardian, which means it's actually overflowing with silly errors. The question is, should I include the ones I notice in this blog or do Guardian errors just exist, like sun and rain and clouds? Are they worth pointing out or is the Guardian simply a lost cause?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Yesterday's Australian

1) Is it too pedantic to point out that question marks never surround things:

2) If he's still holding the position at the time of writing, shouldn't that be 'has held the position ...' and is there a 'that' missing somewhere in the second column:

3) Isn't the subjunctive used only if you believe the outcome unlikely ('were I to go, I'd meet her' [implication, 'but I'm not going to'):

5) There's something missing from the comments of Jamie Briggs, I think:

6) 'honed', tsk tsk:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Ancient Monuments

Call me old-fashioned -
- but I prefer York, if it's got to be one or other Minster.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Costly Mistakes

The Australian Financial Review is quite a pricey paper, which is why we expect it to have higher standards than the rest - except it doesn't:
 1) Loathsome:
 2) Comma, apostrophe, whatever comes to hand:
 3) When you've only got one pilot to deal with, consensus is easier to achieve:
 4) Can anyone else make sense of the sentence beginning, 'The SME sector ...':
 5) Singular verbs and plural subjects don't go:
 6) Neither ... nor seems to get people muddled; this is wrong:

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Some Rubbish

I keep taking pictures of errors in the papers, and then they get all muddled up in the countless picture files on my computer. I plan to get around to sorting them out - or possibly I might delete the lot and start again from scratch: after all, the supply seems to be pretty well inexhaustible.

Anyway, in the meantime, here is a handful of mistakes I've noticed in the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald over the last three or four days:

1) Get, make, whatever:
 2) They notes, they does:
 3) Neither ... nor:
 4) I assume ions were a big thing in 2003:
 5) Interesting to know what is at its centrepiece; makes me wonder what the centrepiece itself is though:
 6) He said, he said, he did, he said:
 7) 1.8 per what last year:

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Well Done

Luke Slattery has redeemed himself. His editorial in the Australian Literary Review is pretty much error free this month.

I suppose, if I were quibbling, (perish the thort [sic, Nigel Molesworth]), I might suggest that he think twice about using the word 'pomo'; it is not generally recognised outside the academy:

Also, when writing a phrase such as 'But I would just say this', it is probably a good idea to follow up with a colon rather than a full stop:
But fair's fair: it is his best effort yet.

Another Pillar Falls

I can't believe it: the Economist - which up until now I had regarded as one of the old reliables - has this in its table of contents for 30th April:
The agreement may be unravelling, but that doesn't mean Schengen has changed its name.

Monday, 2 May 2011

My Enemy's Enemy

Thank you to @drng for this and this. Yes, I know people are working under pressure, rushing to meet deadlines, but the essence of their job is to get it right .