Why is punctuation important?

Well, it can make the difference between this:

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy–will you let me be yours?  Penny.

And this:

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men; I yearn.  For you; I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?   Yours, Penny.


Magnum Ice Cream/Iris Worldwide

Email exchange between yours truly and Iris, the advertising bods who promote Magnum Ice Cream:

Me: ‘Is iris responsible for the current Magnum poster campaign running on the London Underground?’

Nicola (Relationship Marketing Manager, Europe) ‘Yes we are, that is our work.’ (Note the prideful tone.)

Me: ‘Thanks for the speedy response. I feel compelled to point out the punctuation error in the poster – the usage of “it’s” (meaning “it is”) instead of “its” (meaning “belonging to it”).  A basic error of that level is somewhat staggering given that you have, presumably, a reasonably complex design and approval process.

Yours in anticipation of improved English, etc.’


fx: tumbleweeds…


Oh Waitrose, I expected better from you.

Oh Waitrose.  You had a gold star for getting ‘Five Items or Fewer’ correct, but this simply won’t do.

(Update: I wrote them a stinky letter and the packaging no longer has this misused possessive apostrophe.  Amusingly, rather than just correcting the sentence to ‘its’, they’ve changed the paragraph to avoid it completely.)


I reproduce for you below, in its entirety, the text of an email I just sent to Starbucks UK:

‘I was in Starbucks on Old Broad St in London today and noticed that the Starbucks Card promotion stands on the serving desk have a slogan which reads ‘Enjoy your Rewards Everyday’.  This is completely and woefully incorrect and to see it being used in a professionally printed context on something which has presumably been conceived and approved by your PR/promotions arm is somewhat depressing.  ‘Everyday’ is a compound word meaning ‘commonplace’ or ‘ordinary’.  What it should say is ‘every day’.

Please don’t contribute to the demise of decent English; fix it.


I fear I may have crossed a line.