Tamsin Constable

Boots label fun. Should I get out more?

I’ve been enjoying some more word sport, this time courtesy of Boots.

Here’s the label on one of their own-brand products.

I have three comments. On reflection, make that five.

1: It’s that irritating little apostrophe again. The face wash is for men. It belongs to men. It is the men’s face wash. It needs a possessive apostrophe.

By the way, it wouldn’t be mens’ because the word ‘men’ is the plural. When the possessive applies, we treat it as a singular. The same would apply to women’s and children’s.

2:

The label says: ‘Refreshes, invigorates and softens stubble’

Written like this, the label claims that as well as softening your stubble, the product will also refresh and invigorate it. I’d imagine that refreshed, invigorated stubble is not really what your average man wants from his face-wash. Perhaps this would have been better: Refreshes and invigorates skin, softens stubble.

I think someone may have incorrectly applied the rule-of-thumb that says you generally leave out the last comma out of a list of adjectives before a noun. (I saw a big, hairy, green-eyed, stripy spider.)

3:

Ginseng stimulates and protects

Is it just me or does that risk sounding like a description for a very different kind of product?

4

For good measure, I would be tempted to hyphenate the word face-wash as the phrase, like many others, is probably evolving in that direction (face wash… face-wash… facewash).

5

Oh, and I’d stick a couple of full-stops in there, too…

And now I see that I’m at great risk of becoming a hair-splitter. I know, I know, I should get out more.

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