Sunday, March 23, 2008

Errors in the Papers

‘Getting in some practise’ (Today caption, 19 March 2008).

Not strictly an error, but since the word is intended as a noun and not a verb, and Today follows British spelling, it should have been spelt practice. (In American English, it is practice for both noun and verb.)

‘Still in hot soup over slapping incident’ (Today headline, 14 March 2008).

Although the phrase in hot soup is common, it is wrong. The correct expressions are either in hot water or in the soup.

‘…from aunties de-shelling prawns on buses…’ (Today, 27–28 October 2007).

What’s wrong with shelling?

‘…my successes in life (small ones albeit) were handouts’ (Today, 14 March 2008).

This monstrosity, from Mediacorp’s Deputy Editorial Director no less, is a curious error that afflicts English-educated Singaporeans with delusions of grandeur. In Standard English, albeit comes before an adjective or noun phrase. The word she was looking for was notwithstanding.

A truly awful, muddled piece of writing (Straits Times, 11 February 2008). ‘Sparks of revelation emerge as to how different societies contrast against one another’? Sounds like a Primary 4 ‘descriptive writing’ essay, unbelievably bad even for a 10-year-old. But this is a Straits Times journalist, most probably an SPH scholar.

And ... ‘I witnessed a phenomena’? Since it’s singular, it should be a phenomenon. (But, of course, we don’t expect 10-year-olds to know this.)

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