Friday, March 11, 2011


We went out last night to buy a take-away. We live in a village but there's a string of shops between us and the Chinese so we always window shop as we go along the street. And last night we encountered this little gem that is for sale in our local florist.

Now, I know all about the greengrocer's apostrophe and I fully accept that a lot of the people running market stalls are neither natural English speakers nor particularly well educated (even in their native lands) but this is different. Someone went to the trouble of embroidering this little error and presumably these bears are all over the country somewhere if they have been distributed widely by the manufacturer.

I have two basic questions. One is: Why the hell, if you are going to the trouble of manufacturing something with words on, would you not go to the trouble of checking your spelling? This is not a typo. This is someone who does not know the difference between your and you're. (And presumably yore - they probably don't even know that's a word.)

My second question is: If you run a shop and your (or should I say you'r?) supplier provides you with this little lovely. Why the hell don't you send it back and refuse to take delivery?

Many years ago I was involved in the production of a children's colouring sheet. It had a phrase on it (I'm not saying what or it will identify where I worked at the time and that's not fair) that included a plural. On the day it came back from the printer for final proofing I was on holiday. And someone else decided that the plural needed an apostrophe. Next time I saw the thing it was one of several thousand in box loads in our store room. I was devastated. And, needless to say, our extremely well educated customer base refused to buy them. They ended up being pulped. A waste of time, energy, money and natural resources that I have never quite got over.


snafu said...

English is not easy but people do not seem to be making the effort any more, and are often making it worse, if U C wt I mn.
I was looking at someone's recommendation for their own book on line recently and they had used apostrophes incorrectly twice in one paragraph, so I was rather put off the idea of reading their book.

Akelamalu said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly, bad grammar is one of my pet hates.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it make your blood boil! This is just one example of poor English standards that regularly crop up. BT are even advertising their faster Yahoo mail with the slogun "Faster is Funner". It's no wonder school children are so poor at English.

Mama Zen said...

That is just unbelievable!

ChrisJ said...

I would be tempted to ink in an 'e'. I couldn't live with it the way it is. I had one interesting incident when I was a new principal. I believe it is correct that when printing a title or sign, an apostrophe need not be inserted. I put up a temporary sign on the appropriate door: TEACHERS LOUNGE. I deliberately didn't put in the apostrophe. Some rather over-conscientious teacher, actually a math teacher, put in the apostrophe. When I explained my reason for leaving it off, he didn't believe me.