Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Apostrophe Catastrophe

Regular blog readers will have read my furious reaction when the Sutton Guardian saw fit to pick upon a well-meaning road surfacing contractor for misspellings in his hastily-written sign.

I am slightly more forgiving of their report about the bungled road sign which appeared in 'Assembley Walk' (sic) Carshalton - not least because of the money that must have been wasted in having to correct this schoolboy error.

It seems that the issue of spelling and grammar in road signs is something of a nationwide problem (according, at least, to the Daily Telegraph). It reports how councils across the country are issuing their hapless staff with idiot's guides to the use of apostrophes and other punctuation marks.

The article cites John Ever of St Philip's Avenue, Worcester Park who told them:

"Here in Liberal Democrat-controlled Sutton the council tries to please everyone. Of the four road signs for our road, two are with an apostrophe and two are without."

On this occasion, I sympathise with those who rage against the absence or misappropriation of apostrophes and other examples of sloppy grammar from official bodies who should, and must, do better.

For many, proper punctuation and grammar is now seen as an irrelevance. To my mind, it is about upholding standards and basic professionalism.

I probably shan't go the the lengths of Stefan Gatward, featured in the Telegraph article, who roamed his home town painting in missing apostrophes on road signs.

I shall, however, continue to expect Sutton Council and anyone else who should know better to lead the way in grammatical correctness.

Am I being too middle-class again?