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Yorkshire convenience store pair in apostrophe misuse face-off

John Murray

Two convenience stores in York have sold themselves short after showing a lack of understanding of how to use possessive apostrophes.

A Nisa store in the city was the first to commit a grammatical gaff, committing the cardinal sin of using an apostrophe to denote a plural when it proudly fitted a banner reading “Thank’s for shopping with us” to address its customers while they were served at the checkout.

The nearby Your Shop, run by the University of York Student Union (YUSU), snapped the offending slogan and broadcasted it via Twitter in a dig at its rival store. It accompanied the photo with a Tweet reading:

“Poor grammar on one of our competitors signs. #grammarpolice.”

Sadly, in identifying the mistake, the students had made a cock-up of their own in omitting the apostrophe signifying the plural possessive of ‘competitors’, suggesting that perhaps English was not the chosen course of the person or people responsible for managing the store’s social media accounts.

Your Shop, which uses the Twitter handle @YUSUYourshop, quickly ‘corrected’ its mistake by Tweeting:

“haha *competitor’s sign. at least our error was only on twitter… #awkward”

The shop had still got it wrong, however. The apostrophe should have come after the ‘s’, not before it, as ‘competitors’ was plural in this instance.

While apostrophe errors are common and many people will fail to notice them, those that do tend to get particularly irate by them, and will often hasten to point out their mistake. With social networking sites like Twitter helping news travel fast, small but notable errors can soon lead to embarrassment.

For this reason, it is always essential for businesses to proof-read their text when ordering printed items, and perhaps even more so if they intend to take the mickey out of mistakes made by competitors.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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