Frequently Asked Questions
24th June 2003
We of the Self-Appointed Grammar Police are often asked the same
questions. To save us the trouble of answering them repeatedly,
here are those Frequently Asked Questions, with their answers.
Q: You guy's think your so clever, but their is a split
infinative on you're home page!
A: We know that.
Q: Hey! Who appointed you people as the grammar police
A: Sheesh. Can't you read? We did.
Q: You call yourselves the Self-Appointed Grammar
police, but you spend most of your time being picky about
other elements of language: spelling, usage, the precise
meanings of words and even people's personal style choices.
Q: I heard that when forming the plural of a noun that ends
with a vowel, such as potato or tomato, it is
correct to use an apostrophe, like this: potato's and
tomatoe's. Is this correct?
A: No. We sentence you to death.
Q: Is it correct to use an apostrophe when forming the name
of a decade or century, as in 1970's and 1700's?
A: No. We sentence you to be killed, then resuscitated, then
killed again. We further sentence you to cut out, keep and memorise
Bob the Angry Flower's
Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots.
Q: Your site is full of criticism, but you don't provide
much help for writers, far less any encouragement. All you do
Q: I disagree with one of the points you make. Although
the rule you cite is technically correct, most authorities
agree that it's pointless to keep trying to uphold that rule
when contemporary usage so uniformly flouts it. Language is
not a fixed, permanent thing - it is alive, constantly
changing and growing. You can't stand in the way of
linguistic progress, and you shouldn't even if you could. You
ought to embrace changes in the English language as proof of
A: We do not care.
Q: I recently came across your site, and I was surprised to
read, ``Increasingly, the error known as a `dangling modifier'
is becoming endemic''. Now, I despise dangling modifiers as
much as the next anal grammarian, but I also loathe the
tendency of even self-appointed authorities to present
information without any evidence to support it. Have you
performed a study to determine that dangling modifiers are
actually becoming more common? Do you have some kind of graph
that displays your statistical findings? Or, rather, are you
simply practicing the age-old custom of Chicken Little-ism,
following the path of countless (pseudo-) intellectuals before
you in claiming that the decline of Western society is finally
A: The latter.
Q: Your site is awesome! Can I join the SAGP and
A: Maybe. Write a sample case file (Offence, Verdict and
Sentence) and email it to
If we like it, we'll be in touch.
(Alert reader Jane Sales
points out that, therefore, not all the Grammar Police
officers are Self-Appointed after all, and that some are
really Self-Appointed-Grammar-Police-Appointed Grammar Police.
This is the kind of pedantry that we admire; Officer Sales is
therefore appointed Honourary Constable of the SAGP.)
(Alert reader Michael Gooding
points out that we misspelled ``honorary'' in the previous
paragraph. Since meta-pedantry is particularly laudable, we
hereby appoint him Honouuurary Constable Sales of the SAGP.)