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.


One thought on “Save our subs

  1. Pingback: On and off again | Penny Kiley

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