Last week I wrote to The Observer‘s Readers’ Editor: ‘I was concerned to see that in The Observer leader ‘Questions the PM must answer before we act’ (22 November, page 44) you have twice used ‘in tandem’ when you mean ‘in parallel’ (middle of column 2 and top of column 3). The former means one after the other, the latter at the same time. I am sure you intended the latter.’
The Readers’ Editor, Stephen Pritchard replied: ‘Thank you for your email which I will show to the leader writer. If indeed he did mean “in parallel” (which I suspect he did) we will correct it.’
Nothing has happened yet, the leader here still contains ‘in tandem’ twice and I could find no correction in today’s paper.* It is a common and irritating mistake.
It would be nice if all cyclists knew the difference too. In their case the change should be from parallel to tandem. It is annoying that many of them ride in parallel, filling up the narrow lanes, instead of in tandem which gives a driver a chance to overtake them where it is safe to do so and enables walkers and riders to use the roads safely too.
* I am pleased to report that the correction did appear on 6 December here.