Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Did you spot this big mistake on your new five-pound note?

five pound note.jpg

They haven’t been in circulation for all that long, but the new five pound notes have already caused more than their fair share of controversy and drama since their launch in 2016.

Firstly, there was outrage from vegetarians and vegans over the fact that the fivers contain trace amounts of tallow – an animal fat also found in many candles and soaps. Next, there was unbridled joy that five very special versions of the note had been released, each of could be worth up to £50,000 thanks to a miniature etching.

Read more: Inventor of new £5 note brands vegetarians and vegans “stupid”

But now everyone is unhappy again (people’s moods change faster than a chameleon changes colour when it comes to these fivers it seems) – and this time, it’s all because of a grammatical mistake.

The polymer notes, of course, feature Sir Winston Churchill at his best and frowniest.

If you glance underneath the former Prime Minister’s face, you’ll see that one of his most iconic quotes has been emblazoned across the new fiver: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”

Note our use of quotation marks, because therein lies the problem.

Yup, the Bank of England has decided to do away with the punctuation all together.

Read more: Your new £5 note might be worth £50,000 if it has this secret doodle

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

“Place full stops and commas inside the quotation marks for a complete quoted sentence.”

Meanwhile Dr Tara Stubbs, an English lecturer at the University of Oxford, went one step further, telling The Telegraph that the omission was ‘condescending’ and ‘dumb’.

She said: “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.”

Oh, the audacity.

Did you spot the error?

Did you spot the error?

The National Literacy Trust has reportedly advised the Bank of England to correct the mistake – although others have said that it really isn’t as big a deal as some people are making it out to be.

“I don’t know,” said Lisa Appignanesi (aka the chair of the Royal Society of Literature), before going on to add that she doubted Churchill would have minded too much.

“Orator that he was, [I don’t think] he would have noticed the missing punctuation.”

Images: Rex Features


GT use.jpg

Summer loving: get your G&T fix with these perky alcoholic ice pops


Ruby Tandoh on how to support a friend with a mental health problem

hair drying use.jpg

How to blow-dry like a pro: five easy steps


How to stop negative news stories impacting your mental health

14 ways to stay calm when the world’s headlines trigger your anxiety

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Cadbury coated Oreos are a thing and they look ridiculously good

Oreo addicts, this is essential reading

by Megan Murray
16 Aug 2017

Everything we know so far about The Handmaids Tale 2

Here’s what we can expect to happen in the second series

16 Aug 2017

Customers refuse to tip waitress after spotting her pro-LGBT tattoo

“Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus”

by Susan Devaney
16 Aug 2017

The most defiant and uplifting tweets about the Charlottesville violen

Obama's message became the most liked tweet in history

by Sarah Biddlecombe
16 Aug 2017

Game of Thrones fans, could this be Cersei’s secret son?

Read on at your own peril…

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Woman sparks debate after complaining about “cheap” engagement ring

How much is not enough?

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Sex toy reviewer is a job and it pays £28,000 (with unlimited holiday)

Get paid to do something you really love: you

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

The best response to a man who tried to mansplain mansplaining

by Nicola Colyer
15 Aug 2017

The unexpected way experiencing anger could affect your happiness

The value of unpleasant emotions

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017