Shop signs with incorrect punctuation marks are overnight being set right by a man who claims to be the “grammar vigilante.”The mystery man prowls the streets of Bristol in UK every night — he has been doing so for more than 13 years, he says — correcting rogue apostrophes in business signboards.
Among his many targets have been signs reading “Vicenzo and Son Gentlemen Hairstylists”, “Herberts the Bakery”, a greengrocer display advertising “potato’s”.
“The first one I did was way back in 2003,” he told the BBC. “There was a council sign that said ‘Open Monday’s to Friday’s’ and it had these ridiculous apostrophes. I was able to scratch them off.
“Then there was this really gross sign in Gloucester Road: ‘Amy’s Nail’s’. It was just so loud and in-your-face I just couldn’t abide it, so I had to go and apply my wares to this apostrophe. It grates — I think, how can they?”
“I’m a vigilante, I’m a grammar vigilante,” the vigilante who has been dubbed grammar’s answer to Banksy said.“People might say what I am doing is wrong, but it is more of a crime to have the apostrophes wrong in the first place,” he told BBC.
The man has designed an eight-foot-long tool he calls an “apostrophiser” with which he sticks punctuation marks on high-up displays. He also uses a specially-made stepladder that enables him to work without leaning against shop windows. He takes care to make sure that his corrections fit in and uses the same typeface and colour as the original signs where necessary.During one of his recent outings, he removed an apostrophe from a garage sign reading “Cambridge Motor’s”.
The owner told the BBC he was grateful for the vigilante’s work. “I thank him for what he’s done. I don’t mind at all. It’s good to see people still caring about English grammar.” The grammar vigilante uses stickers rather than paint to make his changes.