Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pitching and moaning

Best consonant-voicing correction of the year:

An article on Wednesday about the Air Force’s efforts to counter a mix-up in which rival bidders on an aerial tanker contract were inadvertently sent data on each other’s proposals quoted incorrectly from comments by Sean O’Keefe, the chief executive of EADS North America, on how the company treated data it received about Boeing’s proposal. He said the disc “was packed up and returned to the Air Force,” not “backed up” and then returned.

It is nice of the Newspaper of Record to be so attentive to its errors, but do you suppose we could spend just a bit of time making them less impenetrable? The handy little Flesch-Kincaid test on your Windows grammar-checker puts that first sentence at 27.1. Perhaps we could have a contest to see who can put the most emphasis on the mistake in the shortest collection of sentences.



Anonymous Ed Latham said...

It's a bit late at night after the first Xmas party of the season, but I'll give it a go in official Guardian/Observer corrections style:

'We should not have suggested that EADS North America "backed up" data belonging to its rival Boeing that it was mistakenly sent before returning it ("Air Force Acts To Fix Error In Tanker Bid", 1 December). We meant simply to say that EDS "packed up" the disc containing the data and returned it.'

7:37 PM, December 02, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my submission. Any points?

An article on Wednesday quoted incorrectly from Sean O'Keefe, the chief executive of EADS North America. Concerning data sent to EADS in error, O'Keefe said it was "packed up and returned to the Air Force", not "backed up" and returned.

5:49 AM, December 08, 2010  

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