Can you spot the huge grammatical error on the new £5 notes?

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  • It's very subtle - but it's definitely there

    Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

    The Royal Mint has been very busy over the last few months issuing the new £1 coins and alerting us to the fact that these rare 50p coins could be worth thousands.

    But it seems that nobody noticed a glaringly obvious grammatical error on the brand new five pound notes. They came into circulation late last year amidst outrage that they’re not suitable for vegetarians, and now it seems they’re getting in trouble with The National Literacy Trust, too.

    You may have noticed that the new notes have a picture of Sir Winston Churchill, sternly posed above one of the former Prime Minister’s most famous sayings: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’

    If you hadn’t noticed the quote there, it looks a bit like this.

    Five pound note

    However, if you look closely you’ll notice that quote is not correctly punctuated.

    There are no quotation marks, and although it does include commas, there is no full stop.

    Although the concept image was grammatically correct, it seems that half of the punctuation was dropped when it came to the final design and academics are now accusing the Bank of England of ‘dumbing down’.

    A spokeswoman for The National Literacy Trust said: ‘If you are referencing a quotation word-for-word, use double quotation marks at the start and end of the quoted section.

    ‘Place full stops and commas inside the quotation marks for a complete quoted sentence.’

    Academics have also spoken out against the loss of correct punctuation in favour of design, with Dr Tara Stubbs, an English lecturer at the University of Oxford saying: ‘It is a bit peculiar because it looks like it is the Five Pounds that’s speaking and not Winston Churchill. There should be quotation marks and full stop, definitely.

    ‘It also doesn’t have the Oxford comma after ‘tears’. To take that stuff out is condescending and I find efforts to dumb down like this just irritating.’

    A valid point, or just pedantic? We’ll let you decide…

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