OK, so I love language. I work with words all day and, when I’ve finished, I pick up a book and read even more of them. So, when language is misused, it jars with me just as a bum note might with a professional musician.
Now, I’m not talking about speech. The beauty of the spoken language is that it CAN be abused for effect, emphasis or entertainment. I get annoyed when written signs use incorrect grammar and punctuation. A little pedantic of me, you may think, but could a bricklayer walk past a badly constructed building, or an electrician open up a cupboard of bodged wiring without feeling the same. So, in the course of my adult life, I’ve been annoyed by misplaced apostrophes (pizza’s £1.99), misspellings (stationary at the back of the store) and more.
Before anyone emails me to point out a mistake in my own work (or even in this post), let me admit that I am in no way perfect in this matter. There are errors, typos and more in my writing – but I try to fix them whenever I find them. Thankfully, I have an editor who helps eradicate these accidents from my books, should they slip through – but so did the companies that printed and released the following two gaffes.
I was driving to a book signing event recently, and stopped at a motorway service station where, among my purchases, was a bag of Revels. “Coffee has gone!” announced the front of the pack. “New flavour inside!” I turned over to read more and discovered:
“Don’t LOOSE hope?” Oh, come on! Who approved that copy?
Being the helpful sort, I emailed Mars Confectionery to point out the error and received this reply:
Thank you for contacting us regarding the printing error found on our Revels Mystery Sweet Pouch Packaging, sorry for the late response. Thank you for bringing this to our attention; we value all feedback from our customers regarding our products.
We are aware of the spelling error on this new packaging and I can confirm that this has been rectified. Unfortunately, affected products may still be available in the market place, which we cannot control.
Fair enough. These things happen. It should have been spotted long before the bags went to the printers, however.
And speaking of bags – I found these signs littering my local Asda yesterday:
FEWER bags, Asda. It should be FEWER bags, not less! Less refers to something that cannot be counted individually, like soup. You would have less soup. But, put the soup into bowls, which CAN be counted, and you would have fewer bowls of soup. You can count carrier bags so, together, we’re using fewer of them.
Grumble, grumble, grumble!