Thursday, 7 April 2011

Daily Telegraph Dispenses With Sub-Editors


Do they even read what they write? As a rule of thumb, ancestors come before descendants. Mind you, if the descendants of posh people living today were able to defeat King Harold and put William the Bastard on the throne of England nearly a thousand years ago (1066-Ed) that is evidence of progress. For time travel, not social mobility.

On reflection, descendent is preferable to descendant because the root verb is third conjugation and its infinitive ends in -ere. Hence -ent.  But how many Telegraph writers have even an O Level in Latin nowadays?

8 comments:

Richard said...

The a/e distinction also makes a useful noun/adjective pair - my descendents versus the descendant drops of a waterfall. Like dependent/dependant.

Or am I hopelessly out of date? Fowler would arbitrate, but I've lost my copy.

Brian said...

Richard,

From my copy of Gowers' Complete Plain Words:
"In the ordinary British usage of today dependant is a noun meaning "a person who depends on another for support, etc." (OED). Dependent is an adjective meaning relying on or subject to something else. Dependants are dependent on the person whose dependants they are."
You're right. I must confess I includeds the ant/ent bit to see if the old adage about Nazis, cats and grammar being the subjects most likely to provoke a response.
I've stopped lending books because lend means give apparently and I never get them back. If I intend someone to keep a book longer than the very reasonable four weeks it might take to read slowly, I would use a different word. Aaargh! I'm going to shout at the pigeons. Nurse, bring the syringe.

Richard said...

Argh - I got them the wrong way round. I must be getting old: this stuff used to be completely instinctive and now I have to think about it.

At least I can still spel.

Brian said...

I no longer know the difference between right and wrong.
At least you didn't write @ least.

Thud said...

Amo,amas, am out of here...sorry!

Brian said...

Romani ite domum. Couldn't resist it, always makes me laugh. As does this.

Jim Baxter said...

There is something bad going on at the paper.

This today:

"He came back into the control room and he fired the third and fourth shots. They were reasonably close and I heard a hiss which meant one had flown just passed me."

And this:

One source told The Daily Telegraph: “It appears this rating got into an argument then just went crazy and began shooting people. He has not served in Afghanistan so it doesn’t appear to be related to combat stress like post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Do we have many submariners or other Navy personnel in Afghanistan, making it worth quoting that 'source'?

Brian said...

Jim,
Spellcheck wouldn't have pict up that passed error.
Counter-intuitively, there are quite a few matelots in Afghanistan. Not on boats, of course (they would be very much off course, if you'll forgive the pun).
I agree that the cause of the chap cracking up is best left to the experts. It may take weeks or months or never to find out. One coincidence was that More4 broadcast The Hunt For Red October that very morning. Towards the end, there is a scene where a rating fires at officers in the control room.
My thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends of the dead and injured officers.