Save our subs

I’m thinking of starting a Twitter hashtag #saveoursubs, for highlighting what happens when you decide you can do without sub-editors. It’s becoming common practice, but it should be obvious that replacing a literate human being with a spellchecker is never going to be great for quality control.

For example, I came across a columnist in a Waitrose magazine telling an anecdote about the time her hair turned green and contrasted unpleasantly with her ‘corned beef palour’.

Presumably she meant ‘pallor’. So, mistake number one: misspelling. Mistake number two: pallor refers to pale faces. Corned beef, generally, is dark brown.

A sub would have noticed at least one of these.

Even a spellchecker, you might think, would query ‘palour’. Although it is actually a real word, it’s not one that I’d expect Microsoft to have in its dictionary.

According to the OED, palour is an obsolete word for an edible bivalve mollusc.

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One thought on “Save our subs

  1. Pingback: On and off again | Penny Kiley

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