Find the Error 38
(Extract adapted from a promotional leaflet produced by a national bank)
What kind of mistake do you see? (Choose one:)
- doesn't make sense
- singular / plural
This special promotion for students, sponsored by a major UK bank, has been
running for years and is promoted by hundreds of thousands of glossy leaflets
and posters – all of them missing an apostrophe after 'person'. It's enough to
make a 'person' really frustrated! The correct phrase should be: 'a free 4-year
Young Person's Travel Card'. We know this because the 'Travel Card'
belongs to the 'Young Person' – or at least it will if they apply for this special
offer. In this example, 'Person' is a singular noun. Nobody uses the word
'persons' to describe more than one person (plural); we would say 'people'
instead. If the author of this promotion wanted to use the plural word 'people',
they would still have to employ the services of an apostrophe – 'Young
People's Travel Card' – because the 'Travel Card' still belongs to the 'Young
People'. It's not good enough to go on printing 'Young Persons Travel Card'
on hundreds of thousands of leaflets and posters year after year and just
hope for the best that no one will spot this easily-corrected mistake.
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