Errors and Omissions: Show some cajones and get rid of the asterisks

Plus: why one should always try to leave 10 minutes free at 3.35 on Tuesday afternoons for bringing out the best of the Dutch masters

Share

I thought I had seen it all. Surely there were no further depths to be plumbed by “when it comes to”. Then I saw this headline, in last Saturday’s Radar magazine: “Grey matters when it comes to bringing out the best of the Dutch masters.”

So, when does it come to bringing out the best of the Dutch masters? My life is very busy, but I always try to leave 10 minutes free at 3.35 on Tuesday afternoons for bringing out the best of the Dutch masters.

Naughty word: There are varying views about newspapers and bad language. What words, if any, should we represent by asterisks? The Independent’s policy is not to force our readers to behold the notorious words beginning f– and c–, but to be reasonably relaxed about lesser obscenities and swear words.

A policy we failed to adhere to last Saturday when reporting the forthright views on homosexuality of the new President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes: “Earlier in the month he said he would ‘shoot himself in the b*****ks’ if he were to discover a son who wanted to marry another man.”

This is weird, because presumably Mr Cartes was speaking Spanish. I suppose the actual word he used may have been “cojones”.  The writer, who could have spared the reader’s feelings by writing “testicles”, has instead made the decision (quite rightly in my view) to reflect the President’s tone by using a vulgar English word – only to instantly asterisk it out again.

Bollocks to that, say I.

County town: This is from a news story published on Monday: “A 40-year-old woman was held by detectives in Denbigh, Denbighshire, as part of the probe into a series of incidents where objects were ignited in the town, North Wales Police said.”

What lies behind “Denbigh, Denbighshire”? Hard to say. Was it just robotic adherence to the habit of putting in the name of the county? Or was it an attack of panic at the thought that many readers would not know where Denbigh was? I dare say they don’t, but the problem is not helped by adding “Denbighshire”, and it is in any case solved a few words later by the reference to North Wales Police.

Oh, and take the journalese “probe” out  and shoot it. “Investigation” may be a bit longer, but it is English as used by human beings.

Present and correct: Thursday’s Business Outlook column said government attempts  to get banks to lend to business were like flogging a dead horse: “Let’s recognise that  the horse we are presently trying to ride is deceased.”

The use of “presently” to mean “now” is not absolutely wrong, and is certainly not new  (the OED dates it to 1485). But it is more elegant to let “presently” indicate a time in the immediate future. In the sentence above, use a verb in the present perfect progressive: “Let’s recognise that the horse we have been trying to ride is deceased”.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
One 200ml bottle of codeine linctus contains three times the equivalent level of morphine you'd get in casualty if you broke your wrist  

The ‘war on drugs’ consistently ignores its greatest enemy: over-the-counter painkillers

Janet Street-Porter
The author contemplating what could have been  

I was a timid, kind, gentle-natured child, later to be spurned and humiliated – in short, the perfect terrorist-in-waiting

Howard Jacobson
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable