No typos, please: English teacher corrects spelling, grammar in UK poll leaflet

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Apr 19, 2015 17:55 IST

An election leaflet sent on behalf of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has gone viral after an English teacher in Somerset marked many errors in its language and spelling, prompting many to quip that you can no longer trust the English with the English language.

UKIP has emerged as one of the smaller ‘insurgent parties’ that are expected to have a major say in government formation after the 7 May elections. It made major gains in 2014 with its stand that UK opt out of membership of the European Union.

The leaflet, ostensibly sent on behalf of local councillors Sharon Snook and Derek Tanswell, was painstakingly marked by teacher Suzy Howlett, who received it through her letterbox. The two are UKIP candidates for the local council elections, also scheduled for 7 May.

Using a red pen, Howlett marked the errors on the leaflet. A friend of her daughter put the marked leaflet on a photo-sharing website, which then went viral, prompting wide coverage and headlines in the news media and online.

Using a red pen, teacher Suzy Howlett marked the errors on the leaflet.

Tanswell claimed that the leaflet had been produced by his Liberal Democrats rivals as part of a dirty tricks campaign against him. He alleged that his email had been hacked to produce the pamphlet ridden with errors, and distribute it.

Howlett marked errors in punctuation, spelling, length of sentences, and the use of ‘your’ instead of ‘you’ll’. On ‘borders’ being spelt as ‘boarders’, she wrote: ‘I think you mean borders, not residents of a school or a guest house!’.

Howlett said there was "absolutely no shame in having difficulties with spelling, grammar and punctuation", and added: "What does put me off it is the thought that either Mr Tanswell doesn't understand his own weaknesses, or he does but he's too slapdash and too careless to bother to get someone to proofread them and check for detail’.

"And that makes me think that he perhaps would not be very good at running anything else, if he were to be elected."

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