Punk chew-ation

Our local water authority, officially known as United Utilities but nicknamed Benighted Futilities among its customers, has been carrying out repair and reconstruction work around some reservoirs in the area. There has been minor disruption to nearby paths and lanes. By way – one supposes – of apology, the company posted signs explaining the work they’re doing. At the bottom of one of these notices the following words were printed in large white letters on a blue background:

Sorry we won’t be here long but the benefits will

Well, anonymous author in the Benighted Futilities office, congratulations on getting the apostrophe right, but minus quite a lot for the rest of your punctuation – or lack thereof. Did you really intend your message to apologise for the short duration of the disruption and the relative longevity of the benefits, or are you unaware of the rules of English punctuation? My guess is you just don’t care.

An almost identical notice beside another work site bore an improved but still imperfect version of this message:

Sorry, we won’t be here long but the benefits will

Yes, the comma helps, but can you spot the errors that still persist, anonymous author? Probably you can’t, or can’t be bothered looking.

What annoys me about your misuse of the language is that you’re being paid for it, and you’re being paid with your customers’ money – including mine.

But I do so enjoy a good rant!


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