Beware the 'Apostrophiser'
Posted by June on April 24, 2017
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The town of Bristol in the United Kingdom has its very own apostrophe vigilante. He goes around at night with a wooden stick, his “Apostrophiser,” and uses it to apply stickers to poorly punctuated signs.

In some cases, the stickers cover up erroneous apostrophes, such as the one in a manicurist sign advertising that they do “nail’s.” Other times, he applies a needed apostrophe to signs advertising “gentlemens outfitters.”

Inspired by this mysterious crusader, I dedicated a recent column to apostrophe basics. Here's everything you need to know to avoid the punctuation vigilante's wrath. 

'Or' in Place of 'And'
Posted by June on April 17, 2017


Here's a weird issue that's coming up a lot in my copy editing lately: or in place of and. Here's an example:

Visitors can choose from an array of activities including hiking, biking or snorkeling. 

If find this pretty interesting. The or clearly speaks to the logic of the sentence. You can choose X, Y or Z.  But it's not quite the same. In the structure of our example sentence, options include all three activities. That is, the options include X, Y and Z.

Just one more reason to keep your thinking cap on when you're editing!

Bristol's Apostrophe Vigilante
Posted by June on April 10, 2017
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An anonymous “grammar vigilante” prowls by night in one UK town, erasing misplaced apostrophes off shop signs and adding apostrophes where needed. As Quartz reports, he's been at it for 13 years! He's even been caught on video, which is linked in the Quartz article about this mysterious punctuation vigilante.

Serial Commas Again
Posted by June on April 3, 2017


Following up on last week's post about serial commas, here's a Quartz piece on why people are just so passionate about them. The writer does a better job explaining my take on the court case than I did.