Language lessons across the UK & Ireland

Call us! 0203 650 19 50 / +353 (0) 1 440 3978

Poor Punctuation, Shocking Spelling: Grammar Police Are Here



One of the most rewarding things about being an English language teacher is when things go wrong.

Not when an overenthusiastic twirl at the whiteboard results in losing grip of your pen and it ricocheting off of a student's face. Not when the photocopier decides to eat your original copy and cover it in a slurry of toner soot minutes before your lesson. Nor when you suffer brain freeze when confronted with a difficult question.

The right kind of wrong

By the kind of wrong we mean those delightful little mistakes students make that leave your jaw aching with the effort keeping that snort of laughter in. Small things like 'I want a jam and tomato sandwich.' (your sandwich choice is your own but we assume you mean ham) can result in a smirk, writing ass rather than donkey may raise a childish snigger when used in certain scenarios, and innocently used words that result in innuendo leave you holding your sides and trying to stop the tears of laughter rolling down your face.

Spelling is often a source of great amusement in a language class, and it must be said that punctuation can also provide a lot of entertainment. The resultant argument that followed after a lesson on punctuation with an advanced class using a Dear John letter was worthy of any Cambridge Union Society debate; who knew a misplaced comma could produce such anger?

Grammar aficionados

If you are not one of those Grammar Police that clutches their chest in agony when passing a badly written sign, or flourishes a red pen and corrects a menu with disdainful flair whilst waiting to be served, perhaps you are missing out on a whole world of hilarity you never knew of. A quick flick through Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves is highly recommended to show you what we mean. This book gives an insight into the mishaps of misplaced punctuation and the different meanings this can result in. And before you think we’re being a little overzealous with the title Grammar Police, there is a Facebook group for bad punctuation, September 24th is Bad Punctuation Day, and there’s even a world spelling (literacy) day as part of the World Education Games.

A recent Telegraph article highlighted some perfect examples of what we could refer to as Crimes Against The English Language. Here are our own offerings for your amusement.

Foreign aid?


We are sure this slide was designed with good intentions in mind, but it looks more like a report on the cause of North American obesity rather than the plight of those without food.

We don’t need no education…


Image via

But we could do with knowing where to go to find one. Perhaps not this school...

Look away!

Image via

Image via

We’re not quite sure what exactly is happening right before our eyes but to be honest, we’re not sure we want to know. Look away, children.

A very exclusive guest list

Image via

Image via

We’re all for a society where no one feels excluded but this toilet sign seems to be trying a little too hard to cater for all.

Physician, heal thyself…

Image via

Image via

Or in this case, English ‘teacher’, have a word with yourself. Yes, someone really should be shamed by their English but we’re not sure that is the point of the advertisement.

Hungry anyone?

Image via

Image via

Even the lovely chef Rachael Ray can’t avoid a little crime against language. We’re not sure we’d accept an offer of dinner from her now…even if she does make some beautiful cakes.

Grandpa, we love you

Poor Grandpa! A classic example that does the rounds of many a ‘bad punctuation’ website. As the picture says: punctuation can save lives.

Breaking Bad

Image via

Image via

It seems in this school that life is imitating art just a little too much: our teachers used to do math with us in class. How times have changed…

An acquired taste

Image via

Image via by Andrew Woodley/Alamy

We’re not sure exactly what flavour of beer this is but we do hope it is chilled before serving.

No regrets

No self-respecting list of crimes against language would be complete without the ultimate tattoo mistake.

In good company

If we have concerned you about your own spelling and punctuation, fear not! Apparently you are in good company. A piece from theeducatorsroom,com shows that not only are entrepreneurs who spell badly successful in spite of this apparent downfall, their ‘failure’ is actually inspiring to other people – ‘if we can do it so can you’ seems to be the message. Be comforted that even the most articulate of people make mistakes. And who’d have thought some of our beloved wordsmiths would have been such bad spellers?

Still worried about shocking spelling and punctuation faux pas? Why not join us on one of our courses and let us guide you through the minefield of the English language? Contact us now to avoid your own crimes against language!