The Apostrophe Police

November 29, 2006 at 2:26 am (Uncategorized)

What’s the emergency number for crimes against punctuation? I’d like to have it stored in my phone, and then I’d like to become an urban vigilante, wiping out grammatical atrocities wherever they lurk. It’s enough to DRIVE ME TO DRINK (kidding, yes, ha ha, yeeees, ho ho, just kidding, ha…ha…just GIVE ME THAT bottle, would you, damn you!).

Last night, I went to Zana’s birthday dinner. I set a personal precedent for myself by having just TWO perfectly civilised glasses of champagne over the course of the evening – very pleasant they were, too – and caught up with Zana’s friends. It was all very nice. Not only that, but I am relieved to discover I might not have to become a tee-totaller after all. It seems I am perfectly capable of controlling my drinking. One down, 7,000 other social engagements to go…

But (and strictly speaking I shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘But’) I did spend the entire evening gnashing my teeth at the menu, the business card, and the signage around the restaurant. Why? Because it all says ‘Will and Tobys.’

NO, NO, NO. It’s N-O-T ‘Will and Tobys,’ morons, it’s ‘Will and Toby’s.’ What have they got against a simple apostrophe? I have nothing against putting everything in lower case if that’s what strums your guitar, floats your boat, and crackles your fat, but I take SERIOUS exception to the absence of apostrophes. It is like some kind of language disease in Australia, and it’s because grammar is not being taught in a lot of schools. Many people simply do not know the rules.

There’s also ‘Richards Chocolates’ on Whistler St, Manly. I’ve been served by Richard, and I have long dreamt of taking a spray can down to his shop sign in the dead of night and spraying an apostrophe onto it. Yes, a graffiti correction. Now that really would revolutionise the form. It should bloody well read ‘Richard’s Chocolates,’ and it actually stops me buying his confectionary delights because I CAN’T BEAR the fact that nobody bothered to get it right. It’s all over the packaging, too. Richards. It’s almost obscene. I can’t stand to look at it, so I can’t have his chocolates in my house.

What’s so hard about it? It’s possessive. I’m going to Zana’s birthday dinner. It’s Tara and Tom’s wedding anniversary today. Book club is going to be at Anna’s house tonight. It’s just not that bloody difficult. And if anyone is having trouble figuring out when it is ‘its’ or ‘it’s,’ let me clear that up whilst I’m about it: if you can’t make ‘it’s’ IT IS, then it’s wrong. See? IT IS WRONG. IT IS always, absolutely always, wrong if IT’S not IT IS. Is that clear enough? Please let me know, because I don’t want to be receiving any Christmas cards this year that say “Its that time of year again! Lets get together on New Years Eve, theres going to be a party at Matts house.” AAAAAARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Phew. All this ranting is making me thirsty…



  1. Mike said,

    So wierd, I wa’s think’ing about ju’st thi’s topic today. What pi’sses me off even more i’s inconsistent apostriphisation, especial’ly when u’sed for plural’s. I saw on the wee’kend something l’ike “Shoes and Sock’s” — if you’re going to get i’t wrong, at lea’st be con-frigging-si’stent!

  2. doctordi said,

    My other favourite (did I say favourite? I meant PET HATE) is the ‘there-their-they’re’ war zone. Talk about untold casualties.

  3. doctordi said,

    I’m not kidding. I just got an email with a subject line that read “Wines on it’s way.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  4. Mike said,

    Let’s not forget the your-you’re war. And bought-brought. What’s so gaddamn hard about it people!? I guess the problem is that, as you’ve mentioned somewhere (I think), this stuff isn’t taught anymore. I gs wr lky tht wrtng hsnt bcum lk ths. L8R.

  5. doctordi said,

    I think it’s definitely the fact that it’s not taught (yes, I did mention it somewhere). When I was tutoring in the School of English at UNSW, the number of students who could not spell or grasp basic grammatical principles was more than alarming.

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