Media and Corporate Communications Tel: 07802 584536   Email Jools Payne

The apostrophe catastrophe

Possessive, plural or plural possessive?

I’m a stickler for spelling, grammar and punctuation. I was at school in an era where teachers freely used the red pen to underline every mistake. By the age of 10, my mission was always to have a red-free page in my English exercise book. Sadly, that was never the case with maths. Still isn’t. That’s why I employ an accountant and a bookkeeper.

The misuse of the apostrophe is my biggest bugbear. The poor little apostrophe is overlooked all too frequently. And when it is used, it’s often in the wrong place. In business, there is no place for sloppy spelling or grammar.

What does a cavalier approach to the written word say about an organisation to its customers? Does it tell them the company is on the ball or that it’s slapdash? What does a clumsy sentence or scrambled syntax on a website reveal to the world?

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes think twice about going into a high street retail outlet that has missing letters on its fascia board. It signals that attention to detail and standards are unimportant. To me, that is an indicator of poor customer service – another bugbear…now, don’t get me started on that one.

I was appalled earlier in the year by the sheer number of shops and websites I saw promoting Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day with the apostrophe absent. An apostrophe catastrophe!

Good writing is important. It sets the style and tone of your business and this is particularly important for new and emerging businesses setting out to establish their reputation.

If you haven’t the skills or confidence to write clear, concise copy, using compelling language that engages and inspires, with good grammar and punctuation, do what I did with my numeric illiteracy…buy it from someone who has the requisite skill.

What’s your biggest business bugbear? Share it here so we can all learn to avoid it.

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