Language Rules

Definately Fixing Alot Of Americas Grammar 1 Word At A Thyme

Language Watch: Guardian Unlimited Podcast Blog

with 8 comments

I’ve just come across another missing apostrophe. Either these are on the increase or I notice them more, now that I have to write about them :P

From Guardian Unlimited Podcast Blog (here):

The Guardian’s Social Affairs Editor, John Carvel, has used the paper’s IT team to help him disentangle the accounts of over a hundred hospital trusts in England and finds that at least 12 of them are technically bankrupt. He explains that the government has designed a financial control system that makes it impossible for them solve the problem – its like a black hole in space, says John.

Thankfully I’m registered with them so I was able to leave a comment which I hope they’ll look kindly upon :)

Written by lenina

2006 Dec 11 at 18:22

Posted in apostrophes, English

8 Responses

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  1. Sick.

    nosugrefneb

    2006 Dec 11 at 19:15

  2. I’m all for correct grammar and punctuation, but does a tiny typo in the supporting notification text to a podcast really justify a triumphant blog post? There’s hardly a shortage of howlingly bad English if you look hard enough.

    adrian

    2006 Dec 12 at 03:53

  3. you’re right – it wasn’t meant to be a ‘triumphant blog post’. The point with my ‘Language Watch’ posts is to write about what I happen to come across. I.e. I’m not looking through specific sites to find errors and point fingers.

    So, while I appreciate that there is no ‘shortage of howlingly bad English if you look hard enough’, I’m not really looking hard. All I’m reporting here is what I happen to come across in cases where I would not have expected incorrect language use, particularly, on ‘reputable’ sites such as the BBC, the Guardian etc. I have what I consider a reasonable expectation that such errors should not occur on these sites and when they do, I like to draw attention to them.

    lenina

    2006 Dec 12 at 07:28

  4. Hear, hear!!

    mrschili

    2006 Dec 13 at 19:16

  5. I’m wondering why this missing apostrophe is such a big deal.

    I don’t think it impedes comprehension; I didn’t notice the first time I read it.

    Everyone makes mistakes.

    John

    2007 Apr 5 at 18:36

  6. You’re right: It definitely doesn’t impede comprehension. But, it’s wrong. I’m sure you’ve seen the Cambridge study that found that words misspelled internally but with the correct outermost letters are still mostly comprehensible, but I doubt you’d argue that that is acceptable writing on the basis of its comprehension.

    BFD

    2007 Apr 6 at 07:29

  7. About the scrambled text thing, it’s possible that message might have been manipulated to be easier to read; if the letters are really randomized, it is not always easy to read:
    http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/~mattd/Cmabrigde/

    Anyway, yes the missing apostrophe is a mistake, but it’s a very very small one. It’s unlikely it’s going to lead to linguistic chaos. :)

    John

    2007 Apr 6 at 21:38

  8. Agreed regarding imminent linguistic chaos! (Sounds like a good name for a band or something…) Thanks for providing that followup. I hadn’t seen any of that subsequent research, although I don’t know how I would have; I’m not a linguist.

    BFD

    2007 Apr 7 at 06:49


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