When I'm not getting grumpy-arsed over customer services via Twitter, I'm helping to hold the hands of newly formed charities as they run the gauntlet of gratuitous paperwork involved in registering and tax exemption.
Oddly, I quite enjoy it. Brings a sense of order to my otherwise chaotic and unruly mind.
The other day, however, something happened to shatter that peace.
One of my clients received a letter from HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) with the most appalling slip of grammar I'd seen since the whole Matalan debarkle. And this is a public office. Her Maj ain't likely to be impressed by such butchery of her English.
The letter was in response to the submission of a Cha1 form, which basically just provides confirmation that, yes, a charity is tax-exempt. However, they replied requesting more information:
How utterly snidey does that sound!?
Hah, Sir! You may well call it a "charity," but we call it trash! Not worthy to wipe an orphan's snivelling nose with your, frankly, Primark-quality sleeve.
Or, perhaps it's even more sinister than that? Perhaps both my client and HMRC know that it's not really a charity, but this is a euphemism for something far more covert? Perhaps 'charity' is code word amongst the spooks for undercover operatives, like 'cleaners'...
I'm going to submit it to this beautiful blog for further inspection.
Either way, one thing's for sure - the possessive is screwed.
Either of these would be correct, and far, far less patronising:
...supply examples of the charity's activities
...supply examples of your charitable activities
What sickens me is the thought that if HMRC actually went and collected tax from Amazon, Starbucks and Google, they could probably afford to hire a proofreader.