Opinion: Display’s apostrophes cause consternation

The area between Sewerby Hall and Bridlington is well maintained.

The area between Sewerby Hall and Bridlington is well maintained.

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As a result of my re-acquaintance with Bridlington after so many years, a number of friends and family have been to stay this year. I am happy to say that, without exception, they have all made firm plans to return in 2016.

One of the things that struck me about the area has also been commented on by them all of them, again without exception.

Howard Croft.

Howard Croft.

That is, how well maintained and clean everything is, in particular the green spaces above the cliffs between Sewerby and Bridlington, Sewerby Hall and grounds, and the public conveniences. What these three facilities have in common is that they are all the responsibility of local authorities. The public spaces and Sewerby Hall, I know, are looked after by East Riding of Yorkshire Council. I am not much of an admirer of local authorities as a rule, but I am happy to make an exception for ERYC – a good deed in a naughty world.

I am not sure about the public lavatories as I have never felt the need to use any of these reportedly flawless facilities, and I am disinclined to investigate. An elderly cove creeping about such places with a cub reporter’s notebook and pencil at the ready, especially an elderly cove with what sounds suspiciously like a Hull accent, might excite the interest of the Neighbourhood Watch brigade.

I do, however, have one complaint. On the fields above the cliffs at Sewerby there is an educational display dedicated to the Battle of Trafalgar, produced and placed there by some branch of the council.

It is well-written, the story is lucidly told, obviously by someone who knows his or her stuff, and I have enjoyed reading it on more than one occasion. However, it cannot have been read before being put out by anyone who has more than an inkling about the deployment of the apostrophe, a small mark of punctuation with an important job to do.

Whoever wrote the Trafalgar story had heard of apostrophes and, indeed, placed a couple, but sadly where they were not required; where they were required, without exception, they were omitted. Low marks for English grammar, if there still is such a thing.