Obsessive and obnoxious home

I make no secret of my relationship with the apostrophe. Nor do I make it any less obvious how I feel about Newcastle City Council. Therefore, when the council's Going for growth leaflet appeared in my letter box, with errors I had to act.

I sent the following email:

Dear Sir,

I notice that your Going for Growth Newsletter is available in many languages. While I applaud the efforts of your translation department, it would have been nice for you to have taken some time to get the English version correct.

I enclose two images with numbered errors.

Page 1:

Page 1

1: comma not required before "and"
2: should be "people's"
3 & 4: decide which convention to adopt - either it is a group of tenants and residents or it is the groups belonging to tenants and residents. You have hedged your bets putting the apostrophe on one and not the other.

Page 2:

Page 2

1: comma not required before "and"
2: comma not required before "and"
3: comma not required before "but"
4: comma not required before "and"

On the face of it, these comments may seem pernickety. However, I would expect a professional organisation, which the city council ought to be, to be able to avoid these simple grammatical errors.


Ashley Frieze

I publicly admit that a number of my criticisms are subjective. While the use of the commas in the document is not necessarily unnacceptable, and is, in some cases, even conventional, there are a number of places where the commas add ambiguity or unintentional meaning to the sentences. I offered so many criticisms because I was angry at peoples'.

Result: I received an email of apology:

From: Growth Goingfor [mailto:goingforgrowth@newcastle.gov.uk]
Sent: 15 November 2000 11:28
To: ashley@ccl4.org
Subject: Re:Is your Going For Growth Newsletter available in English?

Dear Ashley

Thank you for your email message of 8 November, and you comments regarding the spelling errors in our newsletter. We will endeavour to ensure that future newsletters are fully proof-read and checked for errors before printing.

Yours sincerely

Shona Alexander


I will, of course, publish any developments.

25 November 2000
Ashley Frieze