Sunday, May 8, 2011

Apostrophe catastrophe

What's wrong with this picture?

Yes, the apostrophe. Or, rather, the open single quote mark, which is what this is. An apostrophe is curled the other way, like a comma, only higher.

This kind of mistake is understandable when using a word-processing program; the software automatically inserts an open single quote because, since the character comes after a space, the program assumes it's the beginning of a quote, whereas apostrophes usually come in the middle of a word (like don't). So you have to manually fix it when using an apostrophe at the beginning of a word as a space filler for missing letters, as in 'til.

Perhaps this sign was originally created in Word and then blown up to mammoth size for all the world to see and copy, because if it's on a big red sign, it must be right, right? Wrong.

At least they didn't put apostrophes before the esses in the days of the week. But that's a post for another day.

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