Mea Culpa: Umming and ahhing

Susanna Richards takes a tour through last week’s errata

Saturday 06 August 2022 21:30 BST
A Roman bravely vanquishes a modern plural, as a sub from the future looks on
A Roman bravely vanquishes a modern plural, as a sub from the future looks on (Getty)

Will no one think of the Romans?” comes the plaintive cry, as once again the question of whether to pluralise a noun using an English or a Latin ending leaps to the fore. We published an article (one of a few) about women’s football last week, in which our contributor wrote: “For a start, the grounds the women’s teams play in simply don’t have the allure of their male counterparts’ stadia.”

There is no right or wrong in this dilemma. Our style is normally to use whichever plural form is the most common, and thus the most familiar to readers. In the literary canon, according to Google, “stadiums” caught up with “stadia” around the time I was born, spent 10 years or so neck and neck with it, and then roared into the lead, where it remains today. Apologies to those who prefer the “a”.

Peddle power: In a report about rather a lot of cocaine being found in a shipment of bananas, we quoted one of the investigators as having said: “Class-A drugs are pedalled by gangs involved in violence and exploitation in our communities.” We had spelt “peddlers” right earlier in the article, but somehow missed this error until kind reader John Schluter wrote to let us know about it, saying that he wasn’t sure of the feasibility of transporting such a quantity of contraband by bicycle. It’s been fixed.

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