Grammar guerrilla takes Harrogate road sign matters into own hands
Last updated Apr 19, 2024
The amended St Mary's Walk sign.

A vigilante has taken action against the council’s decision to eliminate apostrophes from Harrogate district road signs.

The move comes after North Yorkshire Council last week told the Stray Ferret it will abolish apostrophes from road signs after a new sign was installed on St Mary’s Walk.

The new sign, which read ‘St Marys Walk’, sparked concern among local grammar guerrillas – and it seems someone has now taken matters into their own hands.

Shortly after it was installed, someone, armed with a piece of black tape, drew an apostrophe on the new sign, which now reads ‘St Mary’s Walk’ (pictured).

(L) the new sign before being corrected. Another sign nearby (R).

The council said the new format was being adopted by other councils across the country, but it proved less than popular with local residents.

One man, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Stray Ferret last week:

“I do not feel I have been consulted about the council deciding to use poor English language.”

Another upset resident commented on the Stray Ferret’s Facebook post:

“Yes, let’s teach our kids how not to write properly, when the poor English teachers are trying to get students through their grammar tests and, later, exams.
“The teachers are having to waste their valuable time explaining to their students why the teacher knows what they’re talking about and  that North Yorkshire Council’s decisions are flawed and incompetent.”

A similar initiative happened in 2014 – which saw a similar fate.

The Guardian reported at the time that Cambridge City Council’s decision to abolish apostrophes led to a backlash from “self-declared defenders of grammar” who used marker pens to fill in missing apostrophes on road signs.

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