Today I was at the Shrewsbury Food Festival, which, as with any major community event such as this, is fertile ground for strapline spotters such as me. As the queues for the portaloos were too long, my thoughts here came to me when I got home.

The best one I saw there was a combined Virgin Trains and random spring water company strapline created for the event. It went like this:

  • Virgin Trains and Random Spring Water Company: together refreshing your journey and refreshing you.

That’s quite a claim. I can see why they came up with that as it is quite catchy (and makes me want to drink water). I bet it took a team of people and a few weekly meetings to get to that. Water is refreshing so that makes sense. But I can’t see how Virgin Trains can ‘refresh’ a journey.

These people need to eat a lot of food

These people need to eat a lot of food

One of the sponsors of the Shrewsbury Food Festival is an estate agent called Monks. Their strapline is:

  • bringing people & property together

Oh dear. Stating the obvious or what? And why the ampersand instead of ‘and’?

They sell houses

They sell houses

Those were the two worst offenders I saw today (I saw lots of straplines for food producers emphasizing the healthy, local and organic-ness of their wares).

Then on the way home I saw this really bothersome one from Shresbury 6th Form College:

  • Shrewsbury 6th Form College: Unlocking potential…Shaping futures.
If you're feeling locked, study here

If you’re feeling locked, study here

As well as being an airy fairy strapline, here I question the use of ellipses. The word ellipse comes from Ancient Greek and means ‘falling short’ or ‘missing’. Ellipses are used to indicate missing text in a quoted piece of material. If the omission comes at the end of a sentence, then four dots are used rather than three. So in the strapline above, the implication here is that this is a quote and that some text is missing from the middle of a sentence.

‘Unlocking potential of Shrewsbury’s most locked minds and shaping futures’ perhaps? This is quite wordy so I can see why ellipses have been used.

The other issue is that the ‘S’ in shaping should be lower case as only three ellipses have been used. They either need to change this to four ellipses if the ‘Shaping’ is the start of a new quoted sentence or change the ‘s’ to a lower case. And who are they quoting?

I think sometimes I worry about these things too much.