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Apprentice star says “you’re fired” to grammar

Graeme Parton

She may have impressed Alan Sugar enough to finish runner-up in this year’s series of the BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, but entrepreneur Luisa Zissman is  unlikely to get the same level of approval from a keen grammarian, as she recently took to Twitter to display contempt for the humble apostrophe.

On 21st August, Zissman confessed that she did not know whether the name of her new company required an apostrophe or not, as she asked via the social media platform:

“Is it Bakers Toolkit or Baker’s Toolkit with an apostrophe?”

In actual fact, the plural possessive nature of the phrase means that Bakers’ Toolkit is the grammatically correct option but, arguing that it suited the “look and feel” of the brand better and that “loads of brands” do the same thing, Zissman eventually decided not to bother with the apostrophe at all.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5, she said:

“We are part of a new digital media age where you don’t have apostrophes in URL names and I think it can be confusing for consumers if there’s an apostrophe in your brand name and they go onto your website and there’s no apostrophe in your URL. It’s just not used anymore.”

The TV star’s Twitter’s page has since felt the wrath of angry grammar enthusiasts, but Zissman’s business is not the first to flout apostrophe rules in the interest of URL compatibility and brand recognition. In January 2012, bookshop chain Waterstones sparked controversy when it ditched the flying comma from its name, showing that even those most connected with literature are willing to sacrifice good grammar.

The backlash experienced by both Waterstones [sic] and Bakers [sic] Toolkit, however, shows that there are a number of people who get rubbed up the wrong way by grammar misuse, and one can only hope that the business experts behind the moves are not left to rue their apostrophe neglect.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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