I read an interesting Twitter exchange of grammatical opinions on the use of apostrophes for clarity, with different views from Engage 4 Success and Mark Shanahan (both well worth a follow). In the blue corner, the idea that an apostrophe in a plural can assist the reader; in the red, the traditional view that plural apostrophes are always wrong.
Now, I might be a multi-faceted comms pro now I’m all growed up, but in my heart I am still the schoolgirl who would cry if she got fewer than 10 correct answers in her Monday spellings (and yes, I would probably have said ‘fewer’ too; I was that sort of child). I’m a grammar geek. I give a silent cheer for a correctly placed ‘only’. I love a good pun. I can wilf away hours reading the glorious linguistic timeslips of Shakespeare Lyrics and the like.
So if I see a fellow comms pro tweet a typo, do I judge them? Well, a bit, I’m afraid. I fully appreciate that our profession has come a long way since we were the in-house editors and we have so much more to offer than our syntax. And yet I believe these skills are our ticket to the game. Only once we’ve cut our crafting chops can we expect to be listened to on the big stuff. That’s why I will (gently, I hope) point out spelling mistakes in emails from my team, and get completely out of proportion if I receive agency proofs including errors. We should be whiter than white. We should be always on. Up with this I will not put.
I’ve pondered whether semantic slippage is acceptable on social media, where ‘ran out of characters’ is a reasonable defence. But spend a few moments reading any heated exchange on Twitter and you’ll soon come across one poster criticising another’s grammar. It’s the grammatical equivalent of Godwin’s Law. So I’m not alone. Good. Pedantry loves company.
Of course, I should end this post by pointing out that I would never do such things.
Brrrrr. It’s cold up here on this high horse. Maybe I should relax a bit… Bazinga. Who am I kidding?!