Poor illiterate Bob

A grammar/punctuation rant follows. You’ve been warned!

We’ve got a new radio station in town and they’re advertising all over the place. I’ve found the campaign very amusing because they’ve either been preparing the ad copy themselves, or they’ve hired a cut-rate ad-agency. The most obvious indicator of difficulty is they don’t understand when to use an apostrophe, and when not to. The ads describe the music they play as being from the “80’s and 90’s and whatever.” Last I heard, the apostrophe indicates missing letters (as in a contraction), or possession. Neither is the case here. If anything, ’80s and ’90s is correct because the first two digits of the years were omitted.

On their website, they further show their misunderstanding of the apostrophe. Following a link leading to an open letter to everyone with the name Bob opens a pop-up window displaying a letter. The problem is revealed in the title: “An Open Letter to all BOB’s.” Even ignoring the goofed up capitalisation of the first letters of each word, and the capitalization of all of the letters in Bob, there’s no way in hell there should be an apostrophe. They mean more than one Bob, not something belonging to a single Bob, nor do they mean “Bob is” or “Bob has.” Every time they refer to more than one person named Bob, they use an apostrophe. Interestingly enough, the open letter ends with a postscript: “We’ll also give you the shirts off our backs!” Given their treatment of more than one Bob, more than one shirt and more than one back should also incorrectly get an apostrophe. Strangely, the link to the open letter correctly leaves the apostrophe out of the plural of Bob.

I find misuse of the apostrophe when adding an ‘s’ to make a word plural is extremely annoying because the misuse is so widespread, but this is worse because the usage is inconsistent.

Don’t get me started on how “80’s… 90’s… & Whatever” doesn’t even make complete sense because you’re specifying two particular decades, then including all the others with the very last word. If you’re going to do that, you need not specify any decades to begin with. The ellipses and ampersand are misused in the slogan as well.

If their programming and on-air talent are as big a disaster as their ad copy, I won’t have to worry about seeing this advertising eyesore for very long.

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