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Attention to detail

In a fairly poorly run restaurant, the subject of a critique in the backlash section, the poor delivery of food was matched by the poor delivery of language on their menu and blackboards.

In general, blackboards in eateries are good places to find apostrophe errors. It seems that knowing how to punctuate is not a pre-requisite for blackboard writers. In addition, it seems that people are not sure how to make plurals of slightly unusual words. The general (and most incorrect) belief is that you can use the apostrophe to help you make a plural when you are too ignorant to find the correct plural. We've seen bizarre apostrophe plurals before in a Telewest leaflet, and we've seen Italians abusing our punctuation also. So, no surprise to find the two in force together.

It is not only Italian run eateries who sell pizza's, as later articles will (literally) illustrate. Pasta's are more specifically found in Italian places.

Apparently, fish have fillet's and the possessive pronoun is it's. But, the cheque guarantee card is a bankers card. Balderdash!

I wish people would think. I also wish that I could be sure of impunity if I stood up with a wet finger and "edited" blackboards. I refuse to accept that it's can ever mean belonging to it! I refuse to accept that people cannot work out that plurals do not need apostrophes (except in very special circumstances on non-words).

Sure, it can be difficult dealing with plurals of non-English words, but the rules are seemingly straightforward. Either use the originating language's plural (cactus, cacti) or whack an s on the end, or an es or an ies (depending on the spelling of the word in question). In situations like banker's card I could accept the apostrophe if it were before or after the s, since you could argue that the card is of a single banker or the class of people called bankers.

Tip's out of the question.

20 May 2001
Ashley Frieze