I DREAD writing articles like this because they prompt pedants to pay particular attention.
But I shall persevere because that's the kind of man I am: stupid. And, no, I don't have a problem starting sentences with "but". Or "and". Or, indeed, "or".
I witter thus after witnessing a spirited correspondence on a mid-market newspaper website. The headline prompting the discussion was typical: "East Cambridgeshire town offers Briton's best quality of life." An expat, eschewing the usual obsession with immigration and socialism, wrote in to proclaim: "Briton's should be Britain's."
The expat was joined by a native who, eschewing the usual obsession with immigration and socialism, added: "Briton's??? Pitiful, please get a proofreader!" Yes, perhaps the proofreader could remove some of these question marks. And interestingly, or indeed otherwise, initially I typed "profreader" there.
A London wummin then added: "It should either be Britain's or Britons (without the apostrophe)." That sounded about right. But a Finnish reader demurred: "The error the proofreader/journalist has made is in placing the apostrophe before the 's', which is singular and not after the 's' for the plural, thus it should read, '- town offers Britons' best -'"
Zatta fact? Technically, it's arguable, but for all intents and purposes it's bilge. Meanwhile, a Cambridgeshire reader characterised the headline's error as "greengrocers' apostrophe". And the debate ended with another expat expostulating: "There should be an apostrophe in the headline at all actually." Hmm, a little irony there, I shouldn't wonder.
All this over a mark that possesses the power to be owned before by one and afterwards by two or many. Incidentally, if you find any mistaiks in this peece, I've only one thing to say: good. Two things: shut up.
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