Bristol's Grammar Vigilante

Bristol Businesses Get a Second Chance To Make a First Impression

The saying goes ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ and that is particularly true with regards to your business signs. But thanks to Bristol’s grammar vigilante some Bristol based businesses are being given a second chance.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

In 2003 the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation was a surprise best seller. The book bemoaned the state of punctuation in the UK and reminded readers of the importance of using correct punctuation.
Some of Bristol’s sign makers clearly didn’t buy a copy as businesses across the South West region erected signs with grammatical errors in them.


Bristol’s Grammar Vigilante

Step forward Bristol’s Grammar Vigilante who takes particular offence to the use of bad grammar. Since 2003, the vigilante has been taking a zero tolerance approach to punctuation on local business signs.
Under the cover of darkness and wearing a black coat and hat he prowls the streets of Bristol correcting errant signs. His real bug bear is the improper use of the apostrophe. So much so that he has specially made an 8 foot long tool that he calls the ‘apostrophiser’.

The ‘apostrophiser’ enables him to place the correct punctuation on even the hardest to reach signs. Conscious of the potential bad press if he were to cause damage to businesses that he has also designed a stepladder that ensures he doesn’t lean on shop windows.


Amy’s Nails

Explaining how he started out, he told the BBC “there was this really gross sign in Gloucester Road: ‘Amy’s Nail’s’. It was just so loud and in-your-face I just couldn’t abide it, so I had to go and apply my wares to this apostrophe. It grates – I think, how can they?”

For any sign tourists out there you can find the corrected sign at 453-455 Gloucester Road Bristol, BS7 8TZ. 


Cambridge Motors

A short walk will bring you to Cambridge Motors, Cambridge Road, Bristol BS7 8PP. Prior to a visit from the vigilante, the garage’s sign read Cambridge Motor’s - a clear punctuation disaster.

The owner of Cambridge motors told the BBC that he was thankful for the vigilante’s work “I thank him for what he’s done,” he said. “I don’t mind at all. It’s good to see people still caring about English grammar.” 


Tux and Tails

Other victims have not been so complimentary. Jason Singh who owns Tux and Tails, a gentlemen’s outfitters on Gloucester Road, said “I have a sense of humour but the sign is made of vinyl, so if it peels off it’s going to ruin the paintwork.”
“It cost around £2,000 to put up and that’s quite a lot of money. We are only a small, local business.”
However Mr Singh did admit that the vigilante had brought the shop a lot more attention and added: "Hopefully, it should create more business." Sign tourists can head back to Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8TP to see the rectified sign.


Spelling Mistakes Are The “real crime”

The vigilante defends his actions saying that the spelling mistakes are the “real crime”.
He told the BBC: “I’m a grammar vigilante. I do think it’s a cause worth pursuing. I have felt extremely nervous. The heart has been thumping.”


If you are worried about getting a visit from the grammar vigilante, head over to Signman SW, we are renowned for our attention to detail as well as stunning business signs. Drop us a line or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you.

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