Monday, May 1, 2017

Too many apostrophes

An earlier blog post offered an illustration of how one sentence could be punctuated three different ways.  The illustration was from a  wonderful book that examined use and abuse of punctuation.

Marketing letters are often full of questionable use of punctuation.  Such letters often take a familiar or folksy style.  Such a style can irritate.  The marketer uses a conversational approach when the reader is anticipating a formal approach. 

A marketing letter from a motoring service membership organisation presents as one that has such a familiar or folksy style.  For example:

-       It opens with “Hello” when usually “Dear” is used,

-       The first sentence uses “but” as a conjunctive when “and” should be used, and,

-       The letter twice uses irritating contractions: in the first paragraph “your renewal date’s a while away” and in the second paragraph “your car’s in good hands”.

The contractions irritate most. I’ve been careful to catalogue these contractions as irritating as they are not technically in error.  At a stretch, I can accept the first; “your renewal date’s a while away”.  The second is too far flung.  The organisation is very likely to send correspondence that refers to my “car’s service history” of my “car’s tyres”. So, when I see the apostrophe in “your car’s in good hands”, I’m expecting the apostrophe to be used as a possessive. 

All very nerdy.  Back to your web browsing people!


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