Last week I was suggesting some text for an advert we’re publishing and I had real trouble with the apostrophe.
It wasn’t just me… I asked every one of the team here in the office and each of them gave me a different answer.
But, as is my wont, I’m starting the story in the middle.
The advert is for my wife’s business and is to go into a local directory magazine. At the top of the advert is the name of the business, with a picture (very cute) of Barney the office dog underneath it. Just underneath that there’s the slogan:
Businesses’ Best Friend
Now, I knew that there had to be an apostrophe somewhere towards the end of the word Businesses, but where:
I asked around the office and I got different answers. I looked at Google, no help there, either.
So, eventually, I rang the Royal Holloway, University of London. The reason I rang this uni was that I went to see it when I was 17 and thinking about college. (I was going to study English but was put off by some graffiti carved into one of the desks. Here’s what it said:
I could eat alphabet soup and shit better poetry than this.)
Anyway, I rang the uni and got through to the English department. A very nice lady patiently explained to that ‘first we need to make it plural: businesses and then we need to add the possessive: businesses’.
I’m really glad we got it sorted out and I can, with confidence, look at the advert and think to myself: thank goodness the apostrophe is absolutely in the right place.
But all joking aside, it is important, particularly in training, to get everything right. If you don’t it very often spoils the learning experience. Once, many years ago, I put a visual up on a slide which was different from the visual in the workbook… they both said the same thing, they just looked a bit different.
The problem was a lady picked up on the error and told me bluntly at a break: ‘I’m now wondering if anything else you’re saying isn’t right’.
Ouch, but fair enough and a lesson learned very early in my career.
I always worry about a culture of ‘good enough’ because it just isn’t. Everything that goes out of the door has to be checked, re-checked and then subject to one more chcke.
Oops… I mean ‘check’.