Don't make it personal

Like JD one of my major roles is to serve as a filter; yesterday I filtered the following introduction to a news story: "One of the largest motorway services on the M25 has defended its decision..."

Would our readers understand it? Yes. Can an inanimate object defend a decision? No – or not on our watch.

To be fair to the writer concerned, organisations can be considered as legal entities in that a company can be said to make or lose money so maybe each case should be judged on its merits. All that intro needed was the insertion of "The operator of..." at the beginning.

Yes, one inanimate subject has been replaced by another so the rule is not a simple one. Maybe I'm happy with "The operator..." because the operator is a company (of people) but unhappy with "...motorway services" because the service area comprises steel, concrete, glasss, plastic and dodgy food at high prices.

Comments, anyone?

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