Posts tagged with “The Oatmeal”

The Correct Use of Apostrophes

Tuesday, 22 March, 2011

Over the years, as I’ve taught more and more grammar, I have become aware of how many incorrect uses of the very basics there are out there. What shocks me is that a lot of these errors are not only basic, but they occur in advertising, on product labels, in prominent places, and are propagated by people and companies that can afford to pay for professional copywriting.

The other day, I saw a Victoria’s Secret ad on TV that proclaimed (in text) that “There’s five ways…” (can’t remember the rest of the text). Now, there are three main rules to remember with apostrophe use:

1. Apostrophes are used to indicate possession/ownership of something. e.g. The boss’s signature (you can choose to leave out the second ‘s’ and just have The boss’ signature) or Victoria’s Secret (indicating it is the secret of Victoria).

2. They are also used to show contraction i.e. when you condense two words into one, for eases sake, the apostrophe replaces what is missing e.g can’t = can not; it’s = it is (compare to its – e.g. its appearance. This shows possession.)

3. They can never be used to indicate plurals. e.g. 100’s of people is incorrect. 100s of people is correct. Some people say you can use ‘s when you have a single letter word, e.g.” There are two m’s in accommodate”, but I prefer not to do this, and eliminate the apostrophe.

So back to the Victoria’s Secret ad… There’s five ways… = There is five ways…. which is grammatically incorrect. There ARE five ways is correct. Somehow, they seem to have confused contraction with possession, which to me is unforgivable if you are going to spend thousands of dollars on an ad campaign. I have also noticed countless times where apostrophes have been used (incorrectly) to show plurals. I can’t remember the exact wording, but I remember spotting a mistake on the label of a water bottle when I was in South Africa recently. Again, if you are going to spend money on labelling and marketing a product, get it right! And hire someone who knows what he or she is doing. Like Meerkat Communications 🙂

Geraldine

PS – For a humourous (but correct) take on the rules for apostrophe use, see my favourite online genius, The Oatmeal.

PPS – If you are going to comment on my spelling, for example, of humourous, remember, I am not American 🙂

For anyone who works from home…

Friday, 22 October, 2010

I LOVE The Oatmeal. Off the wall and  totally hilarious. I found this one today on “why working at home is both awesome and horrible”. Too funny!

Ridiculously funny artwork with a lot of truth.

Geraldine

Building Community Through Social Media Event

Thursday, 17 June, 2010

Before I get into Monday’s Wired Woman event on “Building Community with Social Media“, I have to share this brilliant comic from The Oatmeal. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you really should!

I think it really does illustrate the difficulty with Web 2.0 and the social media explosion. How are you an expert? How did you build your reputation? And do you really know more than the next guy? It also ties in wonderfully to the Building Community theme (albeit in a humourous stab at the subject).

The fantastic speakers we had at our event definitely were not “Social Media Douchebags” and really did have a lot of insight into turning that online community into ROI, and gave us valuable tips, tools and insights. The speakers were:

  • Briana Tomkinson / Tenth to the Fraser and Fjord West – Co-creator of popular New Westminster blog, and Marketing Strategist with Fjord West
  • Carisa Miklusak / SoMedios – New media marketing, business development, and leadership consultant
  • Chris Breikss / 6S Marketing – Co-founder and Director, and Vancouver’s Social Media Innovator for 2010 with partner John Blown
  • Mhairi Petrovic / Out-Smarts Marketing – Social Media and Internet marketing strategist and CMO of Out-Smarts
  •  Sibylle Tinsel / Club Fat Ass – ‘Chief Executive Fat Ass’ Online Community Manager and social media co-ordinator

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the round table format and it generated a lot of discussion, with different women from vastly different industries coming together to add their insights too. One of the biggest lessons I took away from the event was the importance of listening. See what people are saying about you/your industry and start to build a following by answering their questions and finding your audience in the right places.

I came away with a lot of ideas and also a sense of pride that the event went off so well.

Now to get to the point were I really can add “social media expert” to my Twitter bio… 🙂

Geraldine