One of our recent news stories quoted an individual talking about the importance of "ministerial oversight". I found the ambiguity here quite amusing – of course, the speaker was stressing the importance of government ministers overseeing a particular project, not the importance of those same ministers unintentionally failing to notice or do something.
This raises an interesting question about the use of quotes – is it acceptable to reword a quote slightly to prevent interviewees looking foolish or being misunderstood? In this instance, we left the quote alone, as the correct meaning was evident from the context.
The ambiguous Oxford comma
4 days ago