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Aarrgghh!!! The apostrophe problem...

Dicembre 2014
L'incubo del genitivo sassone colpisce in continuazione! Non solo in Italia, anche in terre anglofone! Ecco due errori visti a Milano e a Dublino...

di Kathleen Cornford

La Baita
La Baita

The Italians tend to have clear ideas about the use of the apostrophe: you either use it or you don’t. For English mother-tongue speakers the situation is a little more vague: yes, there are rules and regulations but sometimes the misuse (or omission) of an apostrophe is acceptable; sometimes it’s a massive mistake. Here are two examples. The first (click here to enlarge the image) was spotted in Milan and is considered amusing. The phrase should read Italian food only. The small “i” in “Italian” (“italian”) is an error, as is the use of the apostrophe: “Only Italian’s food” suggests that this restaurant only serves food made by one particular Italian.

The other sign (click here to enlarge the image) also contains a mistake or two but, seeing as it was spotted in Dublin (by our reader, Francesco Calò), then presumably it’s OK. English language purists may be horrified: the correct phrase should be Women’s and kids’ shoes downstairs, but these days many mother-tongue speakers wouldn’t even notice.


If you see English mistakes (in Italy, the UK, anywhere!) that make you scream “Aarrgghh!!!” take a photo (please make sure
it’s in focus!) and send it to redazione@speakupmagazine.it. We will publish the best (that is, the worst) both here and on our Facebook page.


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