Friday, February 03, 2006

Somehow suited...

Standing up for proper language

In this week's reader's article, full-time mother Catherine Poole, from Dunfermline, talks about the bad grammar that makes her cringe. To send us your views on this topic, see below.


I was recently leaving my local branch of a well-known supermarket and chanced upon a useful seasonal feature, a box where customers can deposit Christmas cards for recycling.

However, this was not what caught my eye. A sign attached to the relevant box helpfully pointed out that this box was for "Card's only. No plastic bag's, thanks".

I winced and sighed loudly, but I also left the shop, slightly bothered that I didn't have the gumption to say something to the customer service desk.

I think I was afraid to receive a similar sigh and perhaps an accusation of being pedantic. In these days of quick fire text messaging and e-mails, does grammar really not mean anything anymore?

I would hope this is not the case, but sadly, this is only one of many occurrences of poor usage of grammar I see on a daily basis these days, in particular, the abuse of the apostrophe.

Their use in a plural is the most common offender, and although the example above was clearly not an "official" sign, I have seen several cases recently which are, one of the biggest offenders being in a major high street store, advertising "Kid's birthday cards".

I am one of those lonely souls who insist on proper sentence structure even in a text message

Which one lucky kid would be getting all the cards, I wondered?

I have to admit I am one of those lonely souls who insist on proper sentence structure even in a text message, so it comes as no surprise to my friends and relations when I begin another rant about this issue.

I know I am not alone; one search on Google (UK sites only!) for "apostrophes" comes up with 101,000 articles, some of which, I am sad to note, belong to university websites providing basic grammar tuition for students.

This would seem to indicate that many of those starting higher education did not benefit from the basics while they were still at school.

One personal quandary rests in the expression of the possessive of my husband's name, James. I believe that both James' and James's might be correct, but a lot of websites I have looked at only favour the former.

However, I happen to know there is a famous building in London called St James's Palace! I think I am correct in saying both are right - answers on a postcard please!

Incidentally, since beginning this article, I noticed that the sign on the recycling box has been changed. Looks like someone made a stand!
Stolen from here


Post a Comment

<< Home