On the agenda: Joyce Carol Oates; Calvin and Hobbes; Royal baby reporters; Benedict Cumberatch as Julian Assange
Middle-class problems: Apostrophes
By Simmy Richman
Let's make this clear from the start: grammar and punctuation are important. As one joker recently put it, "[They] can be the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you're shit." Yup. Grammar and punctuation can change the narrative when a panda with a poorly edited wildlife manual walks into a café and orders a sandwich. They really can. Truss me on this.
But there is another side to this debate, and it is one that really reveals itself only after half a lifetime spent working with words. In a nutshell, it is this: many educated middle-class people seem to have taken it upon themselves to use a person's lack of understanding of how apostrophes work as a tool with which to patronise those who may be foreign, dyslexic, under-educated or simply uninterested.
We have even given a name to this phenomenon: the greengrocer's apostrophe. "Darling, I simply couldn't buy my fruit from that establishment. I mean, the sign on the produce outside read 'APPLE'S and ORANGE'S', for goodness sake!"
Well woop di doo and la di da. Bully for you. You understand how the apostrophe works, and that poor sod who barely made it out of the war-torn place of his birth and then had to adjust to a foreign language and culture doesn't. Give yourself a hearty pat on the back. Well done, you.
So yes, attention to linguistic detail is important. But punctuation pedants take note: whether the sign reads "APPLE'S" or "APPLES" really isn't worth worrying about. The core meaning is surely the same.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 5 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils