Subbing the world

Righting copywriting wrongs, one word at a time

Another apostrophe – but that’s just the start.

I said I was going to leave the apostrophe collection to others, but Jill Theobald from New Start magazine sent me a very nice email with this picture, so I’ve softened. (Flattery gets you everywhere with me.) And in any case, there’s more wrong with this sign, which Jill spotted outside Ipswich railway station, than just that apostrophe.


Let’s deal with the apostrophe first. Examples like this are so much worse than the poor, much-maligned grocers’. If an individual makes a mistake, it feels pretty mean-spirited to go on about it. But when a number of people create public signage, and it’s this blatantly wrong, I do get annoyed.

It’s not just me rolling my eyes at stupidity. (Promise.) It’s the lack of care that’s upsetting – nobody bothered to check. Surely someone looked at this and went, ‘Erm…’ at some point?

But there’s more. There’s the random capitalisation too, of course. Why that cap P on ‘please’? Same problem: nobody cares. I can well imagine this will be a subject I’ll return to.

And lastly, there’s the brevity issue. This is a sign to show you where to wait for taxis. As we’re in the subbing business, I’d suggest we remove the words customers, for, please, wait, and here. (And that bloody apostrophe, obviously.)

The typography’s horrible, too, but let’s stay on remit. Okay, next.


Filed under: Punctuation, Random caps, Typos, ,

Let's start with this blog. The name's just not right, is it? It's much wider than sub-editing. It's just as often about words that are technically correct, but tonally all over the place. Oh well. Anyway, please feel free to send me your own examples of horrible copy (but please, no more erroneous apostrophes): mike[at]


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