Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 12/01/15


I know it seems like nothing more than peevish pedantry, and I'm perfectly well aware that I am not blameless in these things, but I do worry about the standards of literacy demonstrated in those media of which we are supposed to be so proud in this happy land.

This story in the online version of the Not-very-Independent today continues the sorry trend.

The very first paragraph greets us with this:

"...the UK could experience snow, ice, hail and even lightening.

(Emphasis mine)

OK, it's easily done; I freely admit that. I have found myself having unaccustomed trouble of late in typing "it's" when I meant "its" and vice versa.

But, bugger oi down dead, what is this we see six paragraphs in?

"...areas along the coasts which may escape snowfall could experience hail and lightening as early as this evening."

(Again, it is I who am being bold)

As if acknowledging that they may not have caused quite sufficient offence to linguistic jihadis such as me (or is it 'I'? For all my officiousness, I can never remember which is the object of a sentence and which the subject), the very next paragraph gives us this (quoted in its entirety):

"Areas that miss out may well see some hail and lightening. Difference in temperature between the sea and the air makes the air volatile which can result in lightening - especially along south-west coast."

(Emphasis...well, guess. And do they mean "south-west coasts" or "the south-west coast"?)

And then the next paragraph, brief as it is, delivers a parting shot - to the back of the head:

"We may well see lightening and hail tonight..."

I could, of course, have mis-construed the whole thing, and that all the Met-men are saying is that it's not going to be as dark as it has been of late. But I have a wee touch of doubt about such a possibility.

The story is bylined 'Rose Troup Buchanan', but I wouldn't want anyone to get in her face about this. She may be just an intern struggling to get by whilst working unpaid for a Russian oligarch whilst studying to become an English teacher. Instead, lay the blame where it surely belongs - up the ladder with the sub-editor who, one assumes, checked this story out before it went out there. Or is that another area which the Lebedevs have decided isn't necessary, in order to maximise their bottom line?

We really do get the media we deserve, don't we?

And you can bet your OED that I've proof-read this piece with especial care...

Update (a very long time later...like, six years...): Looks like they corrected it shortly after this piece was published).