Apostrophe atrocity

14th March 2008 at 00:00

I was nearly involved in the first motor accident caused by bad punctuation when I drove past a rogue apostrophe on a shop sign. As I pointed out this apostrophe - or, rather atrocity - to my bewildered passenger, I failed to notice the car in front had stopped in the traffic.

I avoided a shunt, but it serves as a warning to us all about the unintended consequences of sloppy English. I was safely at my desk this week when I saw the latest misuse of this poor beleaguered punctuation mark in the title of a Learning and Skills Council press release:

PARENTS URGED TO RETHINK YOUNG PEOPLES' OPTIONS.

No doubt I'll now be hearing from the LSC the moment I put a punctuation hair out of place. Throwaway sauna

When you move house, there's always the dilemma of how to get rid of all those unwanted items. With municipal waste disposal now having been turned into a baffling exercise, many resort to a sneaky bonfire and keep their fingers crossed that the local council's spies don't get tipped off by a sharp-eyed citizen.

This option was not available at Gateshead College, which has rather a lot of stuff to get rid of now it has moved to a plush new campus.

So it has come up with the idea of an auction. The total value of its bric-a-brac is estimated at pound;40,000.

Items for sale include microscopes and desks, as you might expect, but also a sauna. How the other half live.

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