Introduction

Remember that mistakes always seem easy to spot when they are pointed out to you. You think: “Ah, yes, I would have seen that actually.” The fact is that all of these were missed on this live piece of work. No one, in the entire team checking this internally, spotted these.

Our comments below are helpful pointers to demonstrate Future Perfect’s expertise and attention to detail. These comments are not our opinion (just like spellings in the dictionary would not be), but are based on 12 years’ work in this area of marketing communications and successfully advising top establishments on English language and written communications skills.

Text with embedded references to errors

Click on each of the numbers to take you to an explanation.

Supermarket giant1, Acme2, supply3 all4 the food products, chilled items5 and6 fruit and vegetables, for their7 stores in the S8outh W9est10 of England, from one huge warehouse in Weston11 S12uper 13Mare. 14 Almost one-15and-16a-17half million cases of stock move though18 the warehouse19. 20 In Acme21s ‘22groceries’23 section24 just over two weeks25 stock is carried, in26 total27 65028000 cases29. 30 The depot handles almost 10,000 different31 product lines, distributing them to 56 various32 different33 stores, with the area comprising of34 eight smaller depots. 35 Didderon, the global leader in supply 36chain management, manage37 this major site for Acme. 38 This is a challenging job that39 means40 its41 vital to Didderon that all42 it’s43 essential staff are44 well-motivated45 and loyal. 4647Every member of our staff has a one48 to49 one meeting with their50 line manager51 either52 with the option of a formal appraisal53 every six months or every eight months –54 a good arrangement. 55 For the benefit of both managers,56 and their staff, the Support57 team felt58 it was important to increase the skill59 levels in several areas6061, explained Jon. 62 When it came to selecting a suitable training provider, Jon fell back on his previous years63 training experiences64.65 6667I worked for Darfurt Housing some years ago,68 and69 during that time70 I71 attended several short term72 training courses from Appleton, plus we have sent managers from Didderon to computer courses at Appletons73 training centre. 74 We were very impressed with their75 approach, 76 so77 when we were looking for training advice and expertise78 we called in Darren from Appletons79 80 for a discussion. 81 The first ones82 always complementary8384.85

 

The corrections explained

  1. Because the subject of this sentence is ‘Supermarket giant Acme’, the commas are wrong. They have been put there from confusion with sentences like this one: ‘Alison, director of the department, is aware of poor grammar.’ Here, the main clause is clearly: ‘Alison is aware of poor grammar.’ Therefore, the commas are right in this sentence, forming what’s called a non-restrictive subordinate clause, being ‘director of the department’. The sentence in question above, though, is not the same as this grammatically. [go back up to the text]
  2. See note 1. [go back up to the text]
  3. This is a company (collective singular noun) which ‘supplies’, not the people in it who ‘supply’. We should always say: ‘WHSmith is’ and not ‘WHSmith are’; ‘BP has’ and not ‘BP have’. [go back up  to the text]
  4. We need to insert the word ‘of’ here. [go back up to the text]
  5. This is a serial list, so we need the punctuation to show this: ‘food products, chilled items, fruit and vegetables’ [go back up  to the text]
  6. This ‘and’ is wrong here – see note 5. [go back up to the text]
  7. This is a company (collective singular noun) which supplies for ‘its’ stores and not the people in it who supply for ‘their’ stores. We cannot use ‘their’ when referring to a singular company: ‘The company and its products.’ [go back up  to the text]
  8. Lower-case ‘s’ here for this word. [go back up to the text]
  9. Lower-case ‘w’ here for this word. [go back up to the text]
  10. This is seen written many ways in English: South West; south west; South-West; south-west; Southwest; southwest. We have to choose one, based not on what ‘feels’ right, but on which one has the best backing from a language point of view. Future Perfect liaises with geographic societies on behalf of its clients, to ensure sure-founded, sound advice. [go back up to the text]
  11. This needs a hyphen for its correct spelling. [go back up to the text]
  12. This needs a lower-case ‘s’ for its correct spelling. [go back up to the text]
  13. This needs a hyphen for its correct spelling. [go back up to the text]
  14. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  15. There is no hyphen required in this number spelling, but there is with numbers from ‘twenty-one’ to ‘ninety-nine’ and when these are used as part of greater numbers: ‘three hundred and forty-two’; ‘six thousand seven hundred and thirty-six’ – many people are unaware of this. [go back up to the text]
  16. See note 15. [go back up to the text]
  17. See note 15. [go back up to the text]
  18. through [go back up to the text]
  19. You cannot state that a quantity of stock moves through the warehouse, without giving the time qualifier for that. [go back up to the text]
  20. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  21. This requires an apostrophe. [go back up to the text]
  22. This appears to be an opening single quotation mark, but it is not. The mark in the text is a mathematical character known as a ‘foot mark’, correctly used for when you need to say: “I am 5’9″ in height.” You can see the correct opening single quotation marks around the words ‘foot mark’. Each font has its own type designed for it, but the ones which look like a vertical brick are not right. [go back up to the text]
  23. This appears to be a closing opening single quotation mark, but it is not. The mark in the text is a mathematical character known as a ‘foot mark’, correctly used for when you need to say: “I am 5’9″ in height.” You can see the correct closing single quotation marks around the words ‘foot mark’. Each font has its own type designed for it, but the ones which look like a vertical brick are not right. [go back up to the text]
  24. A comma is required here, as this sentence does not begin with the subject. Whenever your sentence does not begin with the subject, you must have a comma before the subject – just as in this very phrase which you are reading now. Other examples: In 1977, we were…; After playing football for 2 hours, they…; Evenly shared, the sweets would… [go back up to the text]
  25. A temporal genitive apostrophe is required here. [go back up to the text]
  26. Word order change required here. [go back up to the text]
  27. Word order change required here. [go back up to the text]
  28. We use a comma separator in thousands as standard, to emphasise the difference between the number 2,005 and the year 2005 (where there is no comma used). This helps readers to see quickly what was meant. [go back up to the text]
  29. Word order change required here. [go back up to the text]
  30. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  31. If you have quoted a number (like 10,000), it is fairly obvious that they are going to be ‘different’ products. People love to say: “I’ve been to four different countries.” (If there are four, they must be different ones.) Worse is: “I’ve been to various different countries.” To say ‘various different’ is the same thing twice. [go back up to the text]
  32. See note 31. [go back up to the text]
  33. See note 31. [go back up to the text]
  34. This is a special verb which most people get wrong. You do not need the word ‘of’ here and can see how to get the special verb ‘to comprise’ right in some of our notes. [go back up to the text]
  35. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  36. This premodifying compound adjective requires a hyphen for its correct spelling: ‘supply-chain management’. [go back up to the text]
  37. This is a company (collective singular noun) which ‘manages’, not the people in it who ‘manage’. We should always say: ‘WHSmith is’ and not ‘WHSmith are’; ‘BP has’ and not ‘BP have’. [go back up to the text]
  38. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  39. Future Perfect would suggest using the relative pronoun ‘which’ and not ‘that’. In this same phrase, you need to use the conjunction ‘that’, so it would get too monotonous. [go back up to the text]
  40. Future Perfect would suggest using the conjunction ‘that’: ‘which means that’. [go back up to the text]
  41. Is it its or it’s? This causes much confusion, even among some top writers. You can see that, in the version done by the proofreader, a character was added, but a foot mark was used instead, so introducing another mistake. [go back up to the text]
  42. We need to insert the word ‘of’ here. [go back up to the text]
  43. Is it its or it’s? This causes much confusion, even among some top writers. [go back up to the text]
  44. Here, we need to use what is called the subjunctive – that is when we should say ‘if I were rich’ and not ‘if I was rich’. This is quite complicated, but Future Perfect will ensure that this is right, so that no one taught English as a foreign language (who will know the subjunctive perfectly) will find anything in your text which is odd. This should read: ‘it’s essential that staff be well motivated’. [go back up to the text]
  45. This is not a premodifying compound adjective and so does not require a hyphen. It is just like saying: ‘Staff are very motivated.’ You would not write: ‘Staff are very-motivated.’ Similarly, you would not write: ‘Staff are well-motivated.’ If this were a premodifying compound adjective, it would need the hyphen: ‘We have some well-motivated staff here today.’ [go back up to the text]
  46. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  47. This appears to be an opening double quotation mark, but it is not. The mark in the text is a mathematical character known as an ‘inch mark’, correctly used for when you need to say: “I am 5’9″ in height.” You can see the correct opening double quotation marks around the words “I am 5’9″ in height.” Each font has its own type designed for this character, but the ones which look like two vertical bricks are not right. [go back up to the text]
  48. This premodifying compound adjective requires two hyphens for its correct spelling: ‘one-to-one meeting’. [go back up to the text]
  49. See note 48. [go back up to the text]
  50. This phrase begins ‘Every member of staff has…’ which is a singular concept. You cannot then use the plural ‘their’ to refer to the singular ‘every … has’. [go back up to the text]
  51. A comma is required here for correct grammar. [go back up to the text]
  52. This word ‘either’ is in the wrong place in the sentence: it is governing the wrong part of speech. The either or sections must be of equal weighting: ‘with the option of a formal appraisal either every six months or every eight months’. [go back up to the text]
  53. We have moved the word ‘either’ to this position. [go back up to the text]
  54. This character is wrong. This is a spelling hyphen [-], used for hyphenating words, but it should be an en dash [–] which is the shorter of the two dashes, the other being the em dash [—]. [go back up to the text]
  55. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  56. This comma is wrong in this position. [go back up to the text]
  57. This should be lower-case ‘support’, as this is not a proper noun (like Matthew or Thames). [go back up to the text]
  58. Future Perfect would suggest using the conjunction ‘that’: ‘felt that’. [go back up to the text]
  59. This requires an ‘s’ on the word ‘skill’, as this makes the adjective (describing word), whereas ‘skill’ is the singular noun. [go back up to the text]
  60. The comma is the wrong side of the quotation marks. [go back up to the text]
  61. This appears to be a closing double quotation mark, but it is not. The mark in the text is a mathematical character known as an ‘inch mark’, correctly used for when you need to say: “I am 5’9″ in height.” You can see the correct closing double quotation marks around the words “I am 5’9″ in height.” Each font has its own type designed for this character, but the ones which look like two vertical bricks are not right. [go back up to the text]
  62. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  63. A temporal genitive apostrophe is required here. [go back up to the text]
  64. This should be the generic singular ‘experience’. [go back up to the text]
  65. This is leading into a quotation, so should not be a full stop. ‘Jon fell back on his previous years’ training experience: “I worked for…’ [go back up to the text]
  66. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  67. This appears to be an opening double quotation mark, but it is not. The mark in the text is a mathematical character known as an ‘inch mark’, correctly used for when you need to say: “I am 5’9″ in height.” You can see the correct opening double quotation marks around the words “I am 5’9″ in height.” Each font has its own type designed for this character, but the ones which look like two vertical bricks are not right. [go back up to the text]
  68. This comma is wrong in this position. [go back up to the text]
  69. This is where the opening comma should be positioned for the subordinate clause: ‘during that time’. [go back up to the text]
  70. This is where the closing comma should be positioned for the subordinate clause: ‘during that time’. [go back up to the text]
  71. The subject ‘I’ does not need to be repeated here. [go back up to the text]
  72. This premodifying compound adjective requires a hyphen for its correct spelling: ‘short-term training courses’. [go back up to the text]
  73. This requires an apostrophe: ‘Appleton’s training centre.’ You can see that, in the version done by the proofreader, this was added, but a foot mark was used instead, so introducing another mistake. [go back up to the text]
  74. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  75. This is a company (collective singular noun) and ‘its’ approach, not ‘their’ approach. [go back up to the text]
  76. Future Perfect advises using a semicolon here. It is the perfect use. [go back up to the text]
  77. Future Perfect advises using a comma here, after the word ‘so’. [go back up to the text]
  78. A comma is required here, as this sentence does not begin with the subject. Whenever your sentence does not begin with the subject, you must have a comma before the subject – just as in this very phrase which you are reading now. Other examples: In 1977, we were…; After playing football for 2 hours, they…; Evenly shared, the sweets would… [go back up to the text]
  79. This company is called Appleton, not Appletons. [go back up to the text]
  80. A comma is required here, otherwise it will mean that we called in ‘Darren from (the company now called) Appleton for a discussion’. [go back up to the text]
  81. Only one space after marks of punctuation. Future Perfect’s helpful tips will explain this more fully. [go back up to the text]
  82. This requires an apostrophe, as it means ‘one is’: ‘the first one’s always’. [go back up to the text]
  83. This is the wrong spelling for this word, which should be ‘complimentary’. [go back up to the text]
  84. This appears to be a closing double quotation mark, but it is not. The mark in the text is a mathematical character known as an ‘inch mark’, correctly used for when you need to say: “I am 5’9″ in height.” You can see the correct closing double quotation marks around the words “I am 5’9″ in height.” Each font has its own type designed for this character, but the ones which look like two vertical bricks are not right. [go back up to the text]
  85. This full stop should be inside the closing double quotation mark, as the sentence began inside the opening double quotation mark – this is the rule which helps with consistency. [go back up to the text]