Tuesday Typo: The BBC

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I’m not going to say that there are no typos in the articles I write. But I’m just me. I’m not a huge and respected organisation such as the BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation has been a symbol of getting things right and setting standards since 1927.

So it’s been around a lot longer than I have. This is why I love to read their style guide and other guidelines for journalists and broadcasters. (Yes, I read them for fun. Sad, probably.) Indeed in their style guide they say ‘Audiences expect the BBC to demonstrate the highest standards of English.’

So today, I was on the BBC website (to see the latest news from the world of Formula One) and it seems that the BBC, in their esteemed wisdom, wanted me to fill out a questionnaire about my online experience. Here’s a screenshot.


Now I could complain about the capitalisation of ‘Take Survey’. The BBC is like me in that it is intolerant of erroneous capitalisations. I could mention the repetition – ‘If you click ‘Take Survey‘ the survey…..’ (I would have written ‘If you click the button below, the survey…..’

I could also make a reasonable argument that a semi-colon (or even a full stop) would have been preferable to the comma in the final sentence. But forget those errors for a moment.


As I type the word above, my computer kindly underlines it with a red squiggle. I’m assuming that my $300 computer is in no way superior to the kit they use at the esteemed BBC. (I also get red squiggles when I write words such as ‘theatre’ or ‘neighbour’ but that’s because – like the BBC – I write in proper English English and the computer is American.)

No-one proofreads what I write on the internet but the story is very different at the BBC with all its staff and editors and sub-editors and punctuation police. So then, really? Not one person working on the BBC website is aware that the correct spelling is separate?

Maybe I should fill out their questionnaire after all and criticise their grammar and spelling?

As the BBC  says in its own styleguide:

“If listeners or readers have to pause and check your sentence, you’ve lost them”


Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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