Wednesday, 21 April 2010

I Am NOT Buying 'Tomatoe's'!

RIGHT. Let’s get started. This week I intend to launch a campaign to preserve the correct use of apostrophes. It may be very petty and pedantic – after all, there are far worse things to worry about (Icelandic ash clouds, the economy and the car’s imminent MOT, to name but a few).

However, misplaced apostrophes really, really, really annoy me. So I have decided to take a stand against this gross distortion of the English language, and to spearhead a protest.

Henceforth I will not support shops, offices or other organisations where staff have failed to grasp the basic rudiments of the English language and cannot cope with simple punctuation.

And I will certainly not be buying potato’s or tomato’s (or, even worse, tomatoe’s, as some retailers insist on calling them).

Nor will I be purchasing beverages from the establishment which advertises a selection of tea’s, even if they are fairly traded – in fact, it was the sight of this particular clanger that prompted this week’s Whinge.

What prune produced a lovely poster, then spoiled it because they didn’t know the difference between a plural and the possessive, I thought.

Also on the banned list will be anywhere selling ice’s, sweet’s and burger’s, along with fresh flower’s , cats cushions or (horror of horrors) Christmas’ trees!

I shall pass by the shops offering hundreds’ of bargains alongside their CD’S, and ignore the many garages flagging up their car’s, van’s and MOT'S.

The cab company which advertises its taxi’s will not be getting my custom, and nor will any firm which shoves a flyer through my letterbox informing me that its difficult to find reliable electricians, decorators or gardeners.

I could, of course, continue to use these outlets while telling people they have got it wrong. But however gently I explain the rules of grammar I end up sounding like Maggie Thatcher at her most hectoring…

And I did consider using a marker pen to deface signs and notices by scrawling corrections over them – after all, when my daughters were younger I used a red pen to amend the spelling, grammar and punctuation on reports, worksheets and newsletters, then sent them back to school.

Sadly, my efforts to improve the standards of English among our teachers did not meet with the approval I had hoped for, and I fear that any move to edit the content of signs in shops and cafes may provoke a similar response – besides which, it may be illegal.

So the only option is a boycott.  And if enough like-minded people join me, then perhaps erase ‘greengrocer’s English’ from the nation’s high streets.


  1. i see the sub editor in you is alive and well! lol!
    annoys the hell out of me too...

  2. Don't get me started. I totally agree with you. Jazzy spelling, for example 'tacsi' or 'kute kuts' gets me going also. Is It is amazing to me that children learn to spell at all.Cafe menu boards are often riddled with tea's and coffee's and then for no apparent reason comes sandwiches without the apostrophe. Why is that? What is behind their thinking? I had better stop!


Thank you for commenting on my blog. I love to hear from readers.