I loved Gillian Thornton’s article on the joys of Harrogate, but one thing that really jarred was the sentence starting ‘First stop, Bettys Café Tea Rooms’.

I’m sure Betty’s tea is great and her cakes even better, but whatever happened to her apostrophe?

As it happens, I know the answer because I’m the publisher of Holiday Cottages and I proof-read the article. My first instinct when I saw this was to add the missing punctuation. After all, it was pretty clear these were – or once had been – tearooms belonging to Betty. But first I checked the company website, where the name was Bettys throughout. To my eye, that looks as if it should be pronounced ‘Bettiss’– who knows, maybe it’s a Welsh surname? So I emailed the company, which blandly replied that, yes it was pronounced ‘Betty’s’ but, no, they didn’t use the apostrophe.

It’s a funny little thing, the apostrophe. When people aren’t leaving it out, they’re putting it where it shouldn’t be (one advertiser in our other magazine, Holiday Villas, has just insisted on villa’s). It’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup, of course, and probably the last thing we need to worry about as the language reels from the assault of texting, rapping and the rest. But as this little story shows, if you care about these things you can at least be sure that at Holiday Cottages we’re doing our best to hold back the floodwaters.