Mighty Red Pen

August 20, 2009

Close but no cigar

Check out the story of enthusiastic peevologist Stefan Gatward. According to 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.

. . .

He said today: ‘As we are off St John’s Road and opposite St John’s Church, both with the apostrophe, St John’s Close should have one too.’

But when Mr Gatward decided to correct the crime against the language by painting in the missing punctuation mark, he was jeered by a neighbour.

‘He told me I was wrong. He called me a vandal and a graffiti artist,’ Mr Gatward said.

‘He tried to tell me that the Post Office would not deliver to the street if you put in an apostrophe.’

Apparently, Gatward is not familiar with the story of Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, the grammar and spelling vigilantes that were busted last year for defacing a sign at one of the national parks. Don’t try this at home, boys and girls.

Hat tip to Apostrophe Abuse.



  1. I loved this story. I want to have this man round for dinner.

    Comment by Fran — August 22, 2009 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  2. I love it, and I invite him to visit America when he’s finished, with the suggestion he bring LOTS of paint.

    Comment by danielo — August 23, 2009 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  3. Stefan Gatward deserves our full support in his noble crusade against bad English!

    Does anybody have his email address? I’d very much like to hear his opinion on the use of dashes in web addresses:-


    Comment by Tim Acheson — August 24, 2009 @ 11:11 am | Reply

  4. […] they should invite Stefan Gatward to relocate to Vermont. Leave a […]

    Pingback by One hump or two? « Mighty Red Pen — August 26, 2009 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

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