Plain Language Commission . Clear English Standard


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Small source of rage for the inner Pooter

[7 Oct 2013] My perfectly punctuated letter to the local paper, itself a weekly source of gross grammatical errors, is copied direct from my email but printed with two punctuation mistakes added by the dimwit subeditor.

First, he/she/it inserts an unnecessary hyphen in ‘publicly-funded facility’ (grrr, ‘publicly’ is an adverb and no possible ambiguity could arise if the term is left unhyphenated).

Second, the oaf removes my carefully inserted apostrophe from this sentence:

The actions of grown-ups are their own responsibility, not their parents’.

The word parents needs that apostrophe because it is followed by the implied word ‘responsibility’, so there’s possession. Shorn of the apostrophe, the sentence becomes ‘The actions of grown-ups...are not their parents.’



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