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Sunday, December 09, 2007


I always look forward to Matt Withers' Spin Doctor column in the Wales on Sunday. His coruscating wit is often the most readable part of that paper.

This week he has highlighted an unfortunate stray apostrophe on a Mike German press release. Matt writes:

“IT’S a poor government that can’t get it’s (sic) own plans right,” said Lib Dem leader Mike German last week in a press release regarding the Assembly Government’s proposed plans for school transport legislation.

Yep. And it’s a poor party leader that can’t get elementary punctuation right. ITS own plans, Mike. Back to school, by transport of your own choice.

My favourite Mike German typo relates to a press release he put out at the end of November. Writing about Council plans to demolish the swimming baths in Blaenavon, the missive started as follows:

'Following the news that Torfaen Council are moving closer to demolition, local AM Mike German has issued an urgent call to save Blaenavon swimming poo.'

I am surprised Matt missed that one.

Personally, I've stopped using the apostrophe in 'its'. I've noticed that it has become the practice of many, who are well aware that it should be used, not to do so. Perhaps custom and practise mean that Mike was not mistaken.
Glyn, I think you are confusing the first 'It's' which is an abbreviated version of 'It is' and is correct with the second 'it's' which replaces 'the government' as the objective of the second phrase in that sentence, and where the use of an apostrophe is incorrect. In my view an apostrophe should not be used in written English anyway and I always endeavour to write the phrase in full.
The syntax of the second example is a bit up the spout as well - but perhaps Mike German isn't the only one who wishes someone would come and demolish Torfaen council.
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