20 Ways It Pays To Be A Grammar Nerd

An Oxford professor says we need to chill out about apostrophes. Here’s why he’s so wrong.

Simon Horobin, an English professor at Magdalen College, Oxford, asked the audience at the Telegraph Hay Festival: Do we really need the apostrophe?

He added that “sometimes we have to accept spellings change”.

He added, “Spelling is not a reliable indication of intelligence.”

This was always likely to make pedants everywhere livid.

Andrew Trotman


Burn him! MT “@sarahknapton: Prof Simon Horobin at Hay Festival asks “Is the apostrophe so crucial to the preservation of our society?”

And sure enough, grammar Nazis were immediately out in force.

Its [sic] depressing to hear this from an Oxford professor via @Telegraph

— Tim Walker (@ThatTimWalker)

Tim Walker


Its [sic] depressing to hear this from an Oxford professor via @Telegraph

This Oxford academic, Simon Horobin, clearly doesn't like standards. Or efficiency. #foreverpedantic

— T Portilho-Shrimpton (@Selkie)

T Portilho-Shrimpton


This Oxford academic, Simon Horobin, clearly doesn’t like standards. Or efficiency. #foreverpedantic

1. You know what? They’re right. Grammar is important. Forgetting a simple apostrophe can lead to this.

3. And (shudder) all these.


Hang your head in shame, Tesco.

6. It’s important to get your commas right, too.


This certainly limits who can use this toilet.


I’ve heard that informing Facebook of your assassination plans may not go down too well.

15. And don’t just add quotation marks because you feel like it, you just sound sarcastic.

Don’t worry, the gates aren’t really locked. We’re only pretending.


The workers are actually plants. We just like to call them men.


So… do you want us to drink the water or not?

18. And don’t even get me started on overusing exclamation marks.

19. This article sums it up nicely.

20. So remember, be careful with your grammar. It really does a difference.

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Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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