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The Funny Grammar Guide to Graffiti Part 1

There’s nothing quite like the frustration of going to all the effort of buying industrial permanent paint, scaling fences and barbed wire to reach inaccessible places, camouflaging and protecting one’s identity, spending hours daubing angry anti-establishment slogans…and then stepping back to look at your handiwork, only to realise that an inaccuracy of spelling or grammar has let your whole angry act of rebellion down. Don’t make the same mistakes as these failed graffiti artists…


Whenever you are trying to make an important statement, punctuating your writing accurately and correctly is absolutely essential, to ensure it is communicated clearly to the reader and to avoid distraction. Unfortunately, this graffiti artist forgot that an apostrophe is required in English grammar whenever a word is abbreviated or two longer words are collated into one, shorter one. The apostrophe is typically placed in the gap where the missing letters have been removed, to indicate that the abbreviation has taken place.

For example: she would becomes she’d, we will becomes we’ll etc.

Printing Causes Errors

One of the major reasons why graffiti seems to contain mistakes more frequently than other forms of writing is that we are much more prone to making spelling mistakes when we are printing (writing one letter at a time) instead of using joined up writing. This is because the muscle memory in our hand helps us to remember how to spell correctly without us even consciously thinking about how the word should look. Using separate letters cuts out this useful tool, and it becomes extremely common for letters to be missed out, particularly (as in the case of this example) in words where sets of letters are repeated.


Getting your spelling right is particularly important if you want your message to be taken seriously, as most graffiti artists presumably do, given the lengths to which they go to ensure that their slogans are seen. If, like this unfortunate artist, you struggle to remember how to correctly spell words ending in ‘ing’, remember these simple spelling rules.


If the infinitive of the verb ends in a silent ‘e’, this must be dropped before the ‘ing’ is added.

For example: smile becomes smiling, bake becomes baking etc.

If the verb ends in a vowel followed by the letter ‘l’, the ‘l’ must be doubled before the ‘ing’ is added.

For example: pedal becomes pedalling, travel becomes travelling etc.

However if the infinitive ends in two vowels followed by a consonant, the consonant is not usually doubled.

For example: heap becomes heaping, feel becomes feeling.

Use the Right Word!

Finally (and this is a biggie) make sure you step back and take a long hard look at each word after you finish it. Don’t make the same mistake as this painter, and mix up two similarly spelled words with very different meanings. Graffiti artists need proofreading services too you know!


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