All garnered in recent times from the B.B.C. which, at one time, I used to think represented the paragon of correct spoken English:-
1) "In Iraq a series of explosions have taken place."
2) "Crime has increased by 50%" (No mention of what period this is over.)
3) "Michael Jackson could hold an audience literally in the palm of his hand".
4) "Of the two candidates he was the one who got the most votes."
and a mistake of the same type with - "Saturday will be the best day of the week-end."
5) "The town's population was decimated by the flood."
Okay, in the last one I'll admit that although the commentator clearly meant that the
population had been reduced to about a tenth of its former figure, and not by a tenth, my
Chambers dictionary states that the word is currently used to mean "to reduce very
heavily", so that at least may have changed in my lifetime.
When I was at school, if anyone made such errors as those above, at best they would be openly ridiculed by our English language master-priest or, more usually, the unfortunate boy would be given a taste of the 'strap' on his hand, usually comprising several strokes. These straps, by the way, were made from heavy duty rubber and imported from Ireland where they had been lovingly crafted by Irish priests - all for our own good, you understand. After just one stroke your hand would sting like nobody's business - but, as I say, a mere single stroke was not considered adequate for the desired efficacy. (Though it's always odd when one thinks back and recalls that it was always the same few boys who were the ones repeatedly punished. So maybe not so effective after all.)
But I digress. It's often said that it doesn't really matter if what you say is incorrect as long as you can get over your meaning. I can't agree entirely with that because when I hear errors like these my distraction causes me to miss the rest of the information.
Well, I won't say things were better in my day. Oh no! That is just too much of a cliche. But I must at least register disappointment that things have come to such a pass when the organ which one feels ought to be propagating the English language with pride is, in fact, so sloppy in its use of it.
2 hours ago