Friday, 18 January 2008

Oopsie-Beebs (fixed)

I know it's childish of me but I just wanted to share these gems from two BBC News stories today. They may well be fixed by the time you look at them, so here are the all-important web-archive versions:

In Education, Call for ban on catchment areas contains this:

This means that pupils at failing schools will remain their for a considerable period of time, the report argued.

... and in the (often excellent) Magazine, in the story What happens to a 143-tonne plane wreck? we find, with delight, this rather wonderful statement:

After spending about $100m repairing the damage the aircraft returned to service.

(It's probably a Dangling Participle or something, and I really ought to look it up so I can at least be childish and snotty about it accurately ... but I feel an attack of jabnaas coming on ...)

It's not that I think anyone should be shot over this and I know they do eight billion pages a day and so on and so forth. I just think it's unfortunate, and occasionally funny, when they get it wrong. Is there an editor who decides what happens to a journalist's text before posting, or is that the same person, I wonder? Oh well, no harm done.

Instant Update: and two seconds - really - after posting that, I had this excellent response from the education editor - who therefore clearly does exist! - saying "two people worked on that. I've fired them both ;-)" which I must admit made me laugh immoderately. I do love the BBC.

Almost Instant Update: they fixed the other one too (but sadly did not send me another witty email). I do, still, seriously, love the Beeb. I can't imagine another organization of that size and importance being so responsive.

Dangling Update: Yep, a number of websites (including Ask Oxford) confirmed that the thing I mentioned in the 777 story is a Dangling Participle. It's a special case of the more general Dangling Modifier, but you knew that. I tried to write this update's first sentence as a deliberate example of one, but I couldn't get it right. It's harder than it looks!

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