Possibly the most embarrassing apostrophe crime ever

Note to the The National Literacy Trust: when you’re bewailing the poor grammar and punctuation skills of the UK population, do try and get it right.

See, for example, the final sentence of the second paragraph on this page.

I’m off to report you to the Apostrophe Protection Society.

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10 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. Rosie Fiore says:

    Appalling. Just appalling. It actually causes me pain. I thought the worst I’d seen lately was a local restaurant who offer “Private Party’s” (Private party’s what, I ask with trepidation?).


    PS: Clare, becoming an avid reader and enormous fan of your blog… will pass the word on!

  2. Clare Lynch says:

    Yes, I fear the war on apostrophe crime is a losing battle.

    Thanks so much for your kind comments – the blogosphere can be an incredibly cliquey place so this kind of positive feedback keeps me going!

  3. dave says:

    I saw a sign for a cafe that had “pizza’s pasta’s burgers”.

    It made my head hurt trying to figure it out. What’s interesting is that they’d hedged by leaving out the final apostrophe. Interesting insight into the mind of the sign writer.

  4. Clare Lynch says:

    A sudden change of heart? A distinction between consonants and vowels? A belief that the apostrophe is used to pluralise foreign nouns? Who knows what was going on inside this writer’s head, but I’m glad they got it right in the end!

  5. real gent says:

    at least you didn’t see ‘private part’s in the pub’ Rosie!!

    as for the humble apostrophe – it is quite tempting to let it stew in the corner and die a slow death but that way lies ruin.

  6. WillH says:

    Hi! Just subscribed to the blog, but have a question about this one…

    You are, I think, referring to this sentence:

    “There have been numerous complaints from universities, employers and the business world in past years about the quality of students’ grammar, punctuation and communication skills on leaving school.”

    Please correct me, but this seems OK to me? Plural possessive but student would be pluralised by adding an “s”, so “students'” seems correct to me as it is referring to the grammar of the collective students?

  7. Clare Lynch says:

    You’re right, it is now correct.

    Originally, “students” had no apostrophe but It looks like they’ve corrected the error since my post was published – whether in response to my blog I don’t know. It would be nice to think that I’ve had an effect!

  8. WillH says:

    Thanks for replying – at least I’m not going mad. I did wonder whether it had been corrected in the meantime.

    Found you via a certain “Real Gent” by the way, great stuff, keep up the good work!

  9. Clare Lynch says:

    Very pleased to meet you, friend of the Real Gent. Thanks for alerting me to the corrected copy and therefore preventing other readers from being confused.

    So glad you like my blog – I do hope you’ll be a regular!

  10. Dave says:

    I thought I was going mad too. But turns out they’ve gone and changed it. Google “quality of students grammer” and you’ll see the original content. Google hasn’t had time to index the change.

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