Life’s Little Irritants No 9 — Apostrophes

With all the excitement over the cricket yesterday, I completely forgot to blog what I meant to blog about, namely the abuse of the humble apostrophe, that little mark that can totally change the meaning of a sentence.

Yes, I know it’s a bit Eats, Shoots and Leaves-ish, but it really gets on my tits when this most subtle of keystrokes is abused and misused, especially by folk who should know better.

What brought this on is the ad for Matalan featured above, appearing on the back cover of You magazine in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday. (Apologies, but the Day of Rest wouldn’t be complete without a Peter Hitchens rant about the “useless tories.”)

Click on it if you want to read a larger version, but I can save you the bother. It reads:

Four weddings,
two stag do’s,
a mate’s birthday and
a week in the office…
all for £60

So how did this presumably university educated copywriter get “mate’s” right and “do’s” wrong? And what did he/she think “do’s” actually says if not “do is?”

My real worry is that he/she did know what he/she was doing but assumed that the rest of us wouldn’t be able to handle “dos” and so threw in the apostrophe so we’d know what they were on about. Aaargh!

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

8 comments… Add yours
  • Blognor Regis 30th August 2005

    Peter who?

  • Laura 30th August 2005

    A stag do??? A blow-out all night drinking bash with one's friends with, if one is extremely lucky, a stripper involved the night (or so) before one's wedding is not a …stag do. That was written either by a woman or a very happy fellow all dressed in pink.

  • krip 30th August 2005

    I don't mind you pinching the odd AArrgghh Polly 😉

  • The Gray Monk 30th August 2005

    An Aaaaargh! indeed! Just shows how little attention is paid to punctuation at school these days – and presumably university too. You should see wome of the scripts and projects I have to mark for "mature" students! My pet hate is the use of "premise" as a singular noun for – you guessed – "premises".

    Double Aaaaaargh!

  • Shooting Parrots 30th August 2005

    Mark, don't get me going on Peter Hitchens. The man's mad as a fish-knife.

    Alice, two stag dos actually suggesting that, if you shop at Matalan, all your mates will get married and leave you friendless.

    Krip, I will ration my "Aaarghs" but this one deserved it.

    Gray Monk, that is a new one on me, premise as a singular noun for premises. Is that something peculiar to the area you teach?

    My other bugbear is the phrase "I had a meeting with such-and-such," or "I met with so-and-so," when the word "with" is totally superfluous.

    "Such-and-such and I had a meeting," and "I met so-and-so," being correct, and the only thing you meet "with" is a bloody accident, but fear I am fighting a losing battle.

  • Shooting Parrots 30th August 2005

    Oh, and over-capitalisation of words really gets to me. It seems bloated and self-important and generally distracts the reader and detracts from comprehension.

    And bloggers who spend too much time adding to the comments on their own postings.

  • Steve 30th August 2005

    Oh shit. Now I know you pay that much attention to punctuation and grammar, I'm just gonna clam up.

  • Shooting Parrots 30th August 2005

    Please carry on, Steve. One, I enjoy all the blogs I read regardless of punctuation and spelling. Thoughts are what matter.

    Two, what gets on my tits are the people punctuate a damn when they're paid to do it.

    And three, you'll find some crap punctuation at Shooting Parrots and everyone will go click-send "Ha-ha."


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