Issue 22

There’s a lot we’re finding wrong with this sign. 1) We don’t like the ampersand (pedantic, we know). 2) That comma isn’t working for us (pernickety, yes, but it makes chic look like a noun and in that instance what, pray tell, is “shopping and chic”?). 3) How can you guarantee chic and cosmopolitan living 365 days of the year? How? Surely one day someone who ends up living on this posh housing estate is going to let the sophistication facade slip and accidentally wear mismatched socks or tragically decide purple is the new black two months too soon. We’re being mis-sold a dream. Trading Standards should get involved.

But forget all of those; it’s the last line that made us properly ranty. 4) Everyday one word is an adjective. It means commonplace, most generally. Every day two words is what you were after here, swanky property development agency, dammit.


Issue 21

This was sent in by Andrew who used to sit next to Editor Clare in Physics. We weren’t very good at Physics, but we excelled in English. Now, Andrew queries in the email accompanying the photograph: “Is this too obvious a candidate? It was stuck on the wall of the photocopier room at work; some effort was made to correct it with a ballpoint pen a few years ago but I removed it last week in a fit of pique.” I say no, it’s not too obvious, and it’s good to see strong action was taken to remove the offending article. Confusing “of” with “off” is simply not acceptable in a professional organisation, even if you do purport it to be a “polite notice”. And what would the impolite version be? “Oi, pick your fucking files up you lazy twats”?

Issue 20

Oh Radisson, what are you like? We see you’re quite partial to a bit of double arrow action, but don’t you think you’ve taken it just a wee bit too far with the lettering in the final item on the old signage there? It’s practically giving us a headache; like when a newsreader wears an inappropriate check on the telly and our eyes go all funny. You managed to spell it correctly the first time, Rad dudes, so what happened? Still, we’ll be back with our Tip-pex, so fret ye not.

Issue 19

Now, we don’t actually hate this particular word, and you know we love a good cuss here at WHW Towers. But when editor Clare spotted this on the back of a cubicle door in some pub toilets in Durham, she was, quite frankly, shocked and appalled. You’d think they were slightly better brung up in such a posh cathedral and university city, right? Wrong. Look at that blatant display of anger not to mention the abuse of a perfectly good swear. Dickhead is one word, silly.

Issue 18

This week, protesters from the Occupy Manchester group have taken over a patch of grass in Spinningfields, largely, we hear, because quite a few members of the group are keen skaters and want to be the first in line when the ice rink comes to town on Friday. Good for them! The anti-capitalism activists have already pitched up in Albert Square and Peace Gardens, and it was at the entrance to that encampment where we spotted this rather fetching sign. It takes us back to that whole apostrophe thing again, doesn’t it? Oh well, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they ran out of spray paint. And we promise to talk about something other than apostrophes in our next instalment. Honest.

Issue 17

Leading on from last week’s rant about the placing of apostrophes, here’s an example of the possessive use of this most lovely of punctuation marks. Or rather it’s not. Perhaps there are a lot of Jonathans who need to park their bicycles in this particular area? ‘Fraid not. Here at We Hate Words, we are privy to the fact that this isn’t the case as Jonathan happens to be a friend of ours and this Bike Park is just for him. Lucky boy. Jonathan’s Bike Park, underlined or no.

Still, a bike park is a lovely idea – a park full of bikes! Imagine! Oh look, that’s cheered us up. Phew.

Issue 16

Ah, doesn’t it warm the cockles to see people spending money on promotional activities during these hard times – then totally pissing on their message with a misplaced apostrophe that makes them look completely unprofessional? And surely it can’t be worse than with the old “it’s” versus “its” cliche of a mistake, especially on a massive hoarding round a building site…

Sigh. For the benefit of those trailing behind in the correct usage of the English language, particularly those employed in the creative industries, let’s go over this one more time. Now, keep up at the back:

It’s = contraction of it is; the apostrophe marks the omission of the letter “i” of “is”.
Its = possessive case, for example: “The car had a dent in the door. Its door was dented” – as in the door belonging to the car had been hit by some clumsy oaf with a supermarket trolley or, depending on the size of the dent, perhaps even another car.

So just remember this, kids: eschew obfuscation. Disambiguation is of the utmost importance. Apart from anything else, you’ll look less like a dick if you get it right.

Let us leave you with this illustration of how the incorrect use of grammar in written text can lead to all kinds of difficulties: capital letters are the difference between “helping your Uncle Jack off a horse” and “helping your uncle jack off a horse”. See where we’re coming from?