Heffer gets the hump over homophone horrors

In his previous email to subs and reporters, Telegraph style guru Simon Heffer issued relatively mild rebukes for various misdemeanours, but this month he is clearly back to his usual angry self.

He points out that the Telegraph website is ‘habitually printing homophones of the words we intended to write because of writers’ failure to superintend the spell checker. Here are just a few: who’s for whose; plumb for plum; hyperthermia for hypothermia; diffuse for defuse; there for their; it’s for its; reign for rain; hole for whole; well-healed for well-heeled; and the misuse of each of pallet, palate and palette. ‘

Axegrinder suspects subs writing headlines about Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson will not be helped by Heffer’s advice on how to describe him. ‘He is not a Roman Catholic bishop; he is a bishop of the Society of St Pius who happens to be a Roman Catholic. His excommunication has been reversed but he is not yet in communion with the church.”

Heffer then lists a series of recent errors, including:

‘Not all Tories are grandees; only very senior ones with established power and influence in the party.”

‘A car cannot collide with a tree: the tree would have to be moving too, which it usually isn’t.”

‘To refute something is not the same as to reject it. ‘

Phenomena is a plural.”

‘The plural of foot is feet: phrases like ‘six foot tall’are unacceptable.”

Gotten is a word in the America language, but not the English one.”

Going forward is banned: in the future is an acceptable substitute.”

 And the award for the Telegraph’s factual error of the month would have to go to the following: ‘Most embarrassingly, we asserted that ‘dozens’ of men had died with Captain Scott at the South Pole. The latter was an error in a press release. It goes without saying that any fact encountered in a press release or in agency copy should not be considered as accurate until the writer has verified it is so.”

 

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