It can’t be hard to understand the rules governing the use of apostrophes. I mean, really. If you are texting or posting a status on Facebook you might say who cares? But when you spend time creating fancy graphics that you want to promote your offerings, getting it right is pretty important (as we’ve been known to say at The Word Factory).
And yet, time after time there are errors made that cause the pedants among us to raise our eyebrows and throw our arms in the air at the same time.
Here are two recent examples seen in Nottingham city centre in 2013. I’ve no idea what Newmarket glitter bombs are (er, drinks? Ed) but I do know that the apostrophe is redundant. Some of the rules governing apostrophes might be a tad confusing but this one is simple: no apostrophe in plural’s (oops).
And as for the bagel’s cock-up, this graphic was huge on a café window, covering practically the whole height, and someone had clearly taken a lot of time to create it. If only they’d spent half as much time paying attention in the English lesson.
Mind you, since my kids’ (note correct use of apostrophe) teachers would often write comments in their notebooks saying such things as “Your doing very well” or “This is a defanate improvement” or even “Please continue this on a seperate piece of paper”, you can’t really blame the pupils.
However, you can certainly blame those large corporations like Amazon, WH Smiths and Carphone Warehouse who really should know better (and really should employ some decent proof-readers). More on that shortly.
Whether pedant or perfectionist, we believe little things like apostrophes make a big difference to how an organisation is perceived. If they are sloppy with such basic punctuation, where else do they not take enough care?