Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

What is it with Australians and apostrophes?

OK, I accept that the subject of this blog is both trivial and reveals me as some kind of a trainspotterish weirdo. But there is only so much a woman can take, and I’ve finally reached my limit.

I can understand it when ordinary people – greengrocers writing apple prices or waiters scribbling out menus – screw up their punctuation. I’ve been known to take a licked thumb to chalkboards outside restaurants, but that’s my problem. Such errors certainly seem to be more common in Australia than I remember at home, but there’s not a lot in it.

But what I do keep spotting here are glaring errors of spelling and punctuation in circumstances where professional copywriters, whose job it is to use language with at least some degree of skill and accuracy, have got it wrong. There is, for example, the real estate board currently up on a building on Parramatta Road which advertises a ‘quiriky’ property. Or the ‘tennants only’ car parking sign on Norton St in Leichhardt. The most basic spellcheck programme on the writer’s computer should have picked those up. But the most spectacular case is the poster plastered up over a significant proportion of the bus stops, ‘street furniture’ and railway stations in New South Wales and Victoria. I’ll let you spot the mistake, but Channel 9 really should be ashamed of itself (and not only for the queasy jingoism).

No doubt there is some howling grammatical error in this post, too. I await correction.

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This entry was posted on May 25, 2011 by in Australia, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , .
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