April, 2013

Apostrophe atrocity – even museums make mistakes

Go on admit it. I bet when you see those chalk boards outside shops and cafes, with their incorrectly placed or missing apostrophes, you’re  tempted to do something about it aren’t you? I know I am. But I don’t think I’d ever go as far as this museum visitor who whipped out their ballpoint to correct an error on an information board.

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Fur flies as Tories get caught in cat-flap – but is it a catastrophe?

If you don’t like puns, or cats for that matter, step away from this blog post now. Home Secretary, Theresa May’s blunder at the Tory party conference yesterday unleashed a flurry of cat related comments from the media who have been in pun heaven.

‘Clarke mocks May as catfight over human rights dogs the Tories,’ taunts today’s Guardian on page eight. While the headline on page 10 of the Independent states, ‘Fur flies between Clarke and May as cat tale starts immigration row’. And last night’s BBC news programmes purr-sued the story with similar glee (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Can’t you just imagine the Cheshire Cat sized grins on journalists’ faces as they opened their laptops after May’s speech?

She couldn’t have given them a better pet to play with. There are lots of purrfect cat-related terms to use in ameowsing headlines for this sorry tale. And so many of our words are prefixed with cat

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Sign of the times?

A bemused friend thought she’d stumbled on an interesting new service from Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Andy Burham, the other day. “I genuinely stopped to work it out before it dawned on me that my angle of view cut out the first two letters,” she told me. “Mind you, I suppose these MPs do need to make some extra money any way they can now the expenses loopholes have been closed! He’s got his apostrophe in the right place, though…” It reminded me of ‘Lost Consonants’ those wonderful Graham Rawle play on word illustrations that ran in The Guardian newspaper.

The baking dog example below makes me smile.

However, my particular favourites are ‘He left the hospital with his arm in a plaster cat’, and ‘Sir Christopher had called a meeting of the hareholders’ – a particularly bizarre image of three businessmen holding hares!









What? No apostrophe in getaways? Get away!

Devere's cup largerOh dear. How much money must this hotel chain have spent on these promotional vending cups? And it’s not a bargain basement hotel chain either. It’s one that understandably seems to pride itself on its attentiveness and attention to detail.

Mistakes are very easy to make but sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and destroy the evidence rather than cheapen your brand.


Are they really selling babies?

Baby nearly new saleWell, I knew times were tough but this poster advertising a nearly new baby sale seems a little extreme. It even says they are ‘to buy or sell’!

Concise is always good, particularly when space is very limited, but it’s also important to be clear so your message isn’t ambiguous.

OK, I realise no-one is really going to think it’s a sale of babies but it did make me smile.


Capachinu at Cafe Late anyone?

I know, I know. It’s cruel but I just couldn’t resist sharing this poster I spotted, er, somewhere in Surrey. I’m not so mean that I would give away the location. 

Are they attempting a world record for the most mistakes crammed into one advertising poster?  Cafe Late? Hotsoup?  And my favourite, mostly for the way they’ve tried to correct the mistake without anyone noticing – capachinu.  

Dear oh dear.  If the photo seems slightly out of focus, it’s camera shake because I was laughing so much. Cafe Late


Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

Word Alchemy Blog