Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Britain's Best-Selling Quality Daily

I try to read The Telegraph, I really do. I gird up my loins, close my eyes and dash towards the newstand, but I always have to open my eyes ever so slightly to identify it and then I see that slogan.

Britain's Best-Selling Quality Daily

Quality is a noun. It's a noun meaning an aspect of something. It does not mean that that aspect is any good, only that it exists. The quality of mercy may not be strained but many other qualities are. Either way, it's a noun. NOUN.

Daily, on the other hand, is a bloody adjective, unless it's being used to mean cleaning lady. One could perhaps see it as a noun, all adjectives can become so - land of the free etc - but not when it's being qualified by quality.

Daily quality would be fine. It would mean the aspect of something that happened every 24 hours, as in "I find the daily quality of the dawn reassuring."

Quality daily is not fine. It's not fine at all. It makes me want to dust down my caschielawis and find that slogan-writer.

I suppose that we should be grateful for very small mercies. The Telegraph used to be biggest-selling until the phrase was banned by international treaty along with phosphorous shells and cluster bombs.

Moreover, I do not live in Britain's London. Nor do I, as some do, visit London's famous West End. The West End is in London. London is in Britain. What could possibly have been wrong with The Best-Selling Broadsheet in Britain?

You don't lose anything. You even gain on the alliterative front (the alliterative front, since you ask, is where D-Day, the Battle of Bosworth and World War One took place).

The Best-Selling Broadsheet in Britain

I know, of course, that the Times, Guardian and Independent have all shrunk over the last few years like woollens in a hot wash, but they are still referred to as broadsheets. I concede that The Only Broadsheet in Britain might not have the marketing zang that the Telegraph is after. However, quality daily is a phrase that denies itself. It's like saying "My grammar are perfect."

In fact, why not abandon the slogan entirely and replace it with All The News That's Fit To Eat or somesuch?

The only place to read the Telegraph is on the internet, because on the internet that slogan is, for some reason (perhaps literacy), blissfully absent.

Daily being used as a noun


  1. The reason it has to be "daily" and not "broadsheet" is because it distinguishes the Daily Telegraph from the Sunday broadsheets, like the Sunday Times (which has a higher circulation) and indeed Sunday Telegraph.

  2. I think the use of "daily" as a contraction of "daily newspaper" is fine, though. It's the use of "quality" as an adjective meaning "broadsheet or former broadsheet" which jars.

  3. Point taken and slight alteration to my argument made.