‘Myer’s seven-storey apostrophe gaffe ignites Twitter mirth’.
‘Myer ridiculed over grammar gaffe’.
Poor Myer. These were the headlines that entertained us this holiday season as the community had a mini meltdown on a punctuation error in marketing material from Myers Stores.
Even more entertaining was the excessive number of comments (most of which contained some grammatical error, intentional or not) and tweeting (don’t expect much there) that followed. The discussion couldn’t really decide if a stray apostrophe matters or not in business advertising.
Double poor Myers got picked up on another typo shortly after for their ‘Satruday’ sales.
‘These things do ‘appen’ as they say in the movies (Phantom of the Opera) and I am sure it will not happen again in the Myers Marketing Department. After all, we don’t see our own mistakes and it only takes a busy deadline or an interuption to miss that error.
So what was the problem?
Take the example of the apostrophe in the boys and their bats.
- ‘See the boys bat’. No apostrophe anywhere means multiple boys were using their own bat.
- ‘See the boy’s bat’. That little apostrophe is before the ‘s’ and means have a look at the one boy who has a bat.
- ‘See the boys’ bat’. The tricky apostrophe is now after the ‘s’ and the sentence now means multiple boys but they only have one bat. (Ref Truss L.)
So, where did Myer go wrong? ‘Get’ is a verb. It doesn’t need an apostrophe to become plural and only nouns can be possessive.
I think the poor apostrophe has too many functions and it does get confusing.
I published an article last year on this very subject of whether people worry about business document mishaps. It did raise quite a bit of discussion.
There seems to be a general consensus that good writing with correct grammar and punctuation is essential in the business world.
Documentation is the coalface of your business. It needs reviewing and a fresh makeover regularly to keep it alive and interesting.