Grammar Vigilante

What The Grammar Vigilante of Bristol Teaches Us about Business Success

Two hours to the west of London, there lives a man who calls himself the “Grammar Vigilante” of Bristol. He dresses all in black and every night he goes into the streets of Bristol and fixes grammatical mistakes on business signs. A little white out here. A little apostrophe added there. Presto! He will not sleep until every business sign in Bristol is grammatically correct.

The Grammar Vigilante of Bristol is most famous for what is known as his “apostrophizer.” It’s basically a really long stick that he carries around the city and basically goes through and removes apostrophes that are misused in different business contexts. Although he’s been doing it for 13 years, he caught international attention for it in 2017 when people started publishing newspaper articles on him, following him around, and calling him the “Banksy of Punctuation.”

The Grammar Vigilante says that his work is a moral obligation to his city. While some business owners casually scoff at his late-night deeds, others express gratitude that he’s helping create more respect for their companies by improving their business grammar.

We can all relate to a moment where we walked past a grammar or punctuation error, or come across someone in the business world and thought, “Oh gosh, how did they do that–that needs to change.” If you haven’t read our blog, How Important is Grammar in Business, Really? you’ve got to check it out because we show research-backed evidence for why grammar still influences customers’ purchasing decisions. There are serious financial and perceptual impacts that can happen on a business when it comes to grammar. Whether someone’s just walking by a storefront and see a grammar mistake or they’re visiting a webpage with a typo, such mistakes can drastically impact sales.

What this funny case study shows is that we must take grammar seriously at work. Nothing like an act of vigilance to show us just how important it is to write correctly!

For all our tips for writing correctly, check out our course Wordsmith: A Grammar and Style Refresher for Busy Professionals!

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