It’s been a little while since the last update, and not a great deal has changed in the world. Lots of little things still catch my eye, some of which I’ll talk about here. You may be relieved to know in advance that there will be no mention of the Queen’s Jubilee or the Olympics (apart from just then), nor a timely patriotic colour scheme – I think most of us, regardless of how we might feel about the aforementioned events, are about ready to scratch our eyes out the next time we see a Union Jack-themed condiment, ubiquitous snack wrapping, TV ad with a thinly-veiled, irrelevant Olympic reference or athletic sponsor, or miniature hors d’oeuvres imprinted with Her Majesty’s face…..
Instead, I’ll talk about other silly things.
Grammar Pedantics – Apostrophes!
I know some people think that grammar doesn’t really matter, and while apostrophes may not hugely change meanings when used improperly, they are one of the classic and most obvious grammatical errors, indicating a writer’s lack of understanding for punctuation. Many people get very confused with apostrophes, so just in case you are one of them, here you go:
Apostrophes are for two things: Possession (e.g. the cat’s whiskers), or abbreviation (don’t – do not, can’t – cannot). THAT’S IT. Apostrophes are not, repeat NOT used in plurals. EVER. So for example, when a noun ends in a vowel or a y, you don’t need to add an apostrophe as well as an S when you make it plural, though you might need to add/changesomething else (e.g. hero >> heroes – add an e, but no apostrophe needed, or sky >> skies).
Possession — the apostrophe goes with the owner, as with the example above — ‘cat’s whiskers’, not ‘cats whisker’s’.
Abbreviation – Its and it’s can definitely be confusing, being, obviously, the same word – but they have different meanings. This is the only word where the possession rule does not apply, because it is already used for abbrevation – it’s with the apostrophe means ‘it is’, and the apostrophe is only used for abbreviation with this word. When using its as a pronoun (e.g. ‘the cat – its whiskers are long’), you don’t use an apostrophe.
On another note, with words like would’ve and could’ve, these are abbreviations for would have and could have. They are not would of or could of, despite it sometimes sounding like this when you say the word.
Hey, when I said pedantic, I wasn’t kidding. But seriously, if you ever have to write anything at all in a professional capacity, which most people will even if it’s just writing emails, this stuff is the sort of thing that can either give the impression of capability and intelligence, when done correctly, or appear ignorant and unprofessional when done improperly. When in doubt, consult guidelines!
Not so much cultural, but business-related and still very curious as to how such an oversight made it onscreen. Most people these days are increasingly familiar with the new feature of QR codes in advertisements to scan with a smartphone; more recently, I saw my first instance of a company taking this to the next level and placing it within a TV/Internet ad as well. Unfortunately, they only gave it screen time of about 1 second, so if you want to actually have a chance at scanning it you have to lie in wait, phone poised, and move faster than Bruce Lee when you see it…..
Things of Joy
As we hurtle towards the middle of the year, I almost jumped for joy when I saw that Waitrose had evidently picked up on the growing popularity for samphire, which I’m very happy to say is now in season, and have got it at their fish counter. This is delicious vegetation not unlike seaweed, but BETTER, and couldn’t be simpler to cook. Just fry it in a shallow pan with some butter – it’s salty enough already, so probably best to use unsalted butter (which also gives it a slightly creamy flavour). Always recommended to be served with fish, but I think it’s got the potential to be much more versatile 🙂
Can’t leave this post without a mention of the beautiful weather that has finally come to England – I’m working on my pre-Ibiza tan already! Adios amigos.