'Punctuation hero' branded a vandal

To some Britons, Stefan Gatward is a “punctuation hero.” To others, he’s a vandal. From the Daily Mail:

After enduring sloppy punctuation on the street sign outside his home for more than a year, Stefan Gatward could stand it no longer.

The 62-year-old former soldier decided to launch a one-man crusade against ‘dumbed down’ Britain, and picked up a paintbrush to insert a missing apostrophe.

This turned the incorrect St Johns Close into the correct St John’s Close.

A neighbor turned him for “vandalizing” the sign.

Gatward refuses to join the “five items or less” line at the market to protest the failure to say “five items or fewer.”

He . . . was vexed when he saw a major chain store advertising sales with signs saying ‘until stocks last’ rather than ‘while stocks last’.

‘I fought for the preservation of our heritage and our language but some people seem happy to let that go. I’m not,’ he said.

Via J-Walk Blog, which suggests “St” needs a period.

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  1. Bravo! Perhaps he could come to this country and correct the countless signs that misuse quotation marks. People seem to think a statement becomes emphatic with the addition of quotation marks.

  2. “St” doesn’t need the period in British usage (in the same way they don’t use it for “Mr,” etc.).

    My dogs are trained to lie down, but not lay down. We all need a hobby.

  3. Good for him.

  4. Obsessive compulsive disorder, mayhaps?

  5. You should check this out: The Blog of Unnecessary Quotes.

    It’s just a question of being sloppy with your language because you don’t care. You might as well just point at what you want and make noise.

  6. Is it awful to see “10 items or less” signs at grocery stores and not be terribly troubled by it?

  7. Doug Sundseth says:

    Since there’s no actual grammatical problem with the use of “less” in that context (see, for instance, this article on Language Log), it would be awful if you were to be terribly troubled by it.

    And the most common style for street signs is to omit apostrophes from names in both the US and England. This is not new. (It has been the official guidance from the US Board on Geographic Names since 1890, for instance.)

    If it pleases you to be offended, well, everybody needs a hobby (or a hobby horse).