Misplaced apostrophes, beware!

By Liz Steelman
Updated April 04, 2017
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Have you ever seen a grammar mistake so vile that all you can think about is how amazing it would feel if you could fix it? Sure, for some mistakes you can do some rogue copyediting with a Sharpie. But some typos, like billboards and store signs are just too large—the misplaced comma might even be the same size as you! So what can proper English lovers do? Well, a mysterious man in Bristol, England, devised a way to actually fix these semantic crimes and has, in turn, become the hero all grammar nerds never knew they needed.

In a city plagued by possessive mix-ups, this unnamed hero has been roaming the streets in the wee hours of the morning, working on cleaning up the city’s grammatical crimes. His tool of choice? The “Apostrophiser,” a stick-like contraption that allows him to reach the highest signs in need of a little proofreading. Known to the citizens of Bristol as the “grammar vigilante,” he has been cleaning up the city’s signs for 13 years. Using stickers to remove all unnecessary apostrophes, this man has been righting signs like “Amys Nail’s,” “Authenticity at it’s best,” and “Cambridge Motor’s.”

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Though he’s been a hero to locals, the vigilante and his Apostrophiser skyrocketed to international viral fame just this week. Jon Kay, a British journalist, tweeted a teaser trailer for an upcoming BBC radio documentary that follows the rogue copyeditor.

Kay features the one-man grammar police force in a new BBC Radio documentary The Apotrophiser’s Tale, released on Monday. You can listen to the full 27-minute documentary on the BBC iPlayer Radio, here.

Feel like you’re guilty of some typos yourself? Check out 6 Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make.