Category Archives: Apostrophes

Double bubble

Woo Hoo! A post I can tag both Apostrophes AND Business Analysis!

In fairness, whoever wrote this speaks English far better than I speak any other language. But the sloppy layout in section 1.5 is not “Attention to Details” in any language.

I like “data’s” though.

I really like “data’s”.

I might start spelling it that way myself.

Hotelier than thou

I saw a sign today that said

Thank’s to all our customers

But it was hand-written in felt-tip, and I felt it would be a tad patronising to photograph it and post it here. There’s more kudos to catching the ones designed by one person and authorised and signed off by at least one other.

Here’s a peach from an up-market hotel in Edinburgh.

... selected=

I’m sorry the image is so meh.  I was sober when I took it, but the damn thing’s a mirror in the ladies’ loo and I was using my mobile phone without flash. It’s a wonder it’s legible at all: I’ve just spent half an hour adjusting the perspective and focus.

If you can’t read it clearly, here’s what says:

Located in the hear of the hotel, overlooking George St,
the Consort Bistro and Bar offers a great variety of drinks and food
selected to tickle your taste buds’

What I love about this is that someone must have deliberately chosen the phrase “tickle your taste buds”, I’d hate to think it was how they spoke normally. The only thing I’ll add is that a Margarita would be lovely, thank you, so long as I can get to Waverley before the last train home.

Damned Apostrophes

My sister, knowing my fondness for misplaced and missing apostrophes, sent me the following two emails:

Yesterday the conversation got onto dancing in church, [and then] onto religious dance in general and David dancing before the ark and being despised by his wife Michal for unbecoming behaviour, and I was skimming through 1 Samuel for the bits dealing with David’s relationship with Michal and and in Chap 25:42 I saw

And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of her’s that went after her…

I couldn’t cross-check immediately because I didn’t have another edition of the KJV [King James Version] to hand, but there was one from the Gideons in the Sunday-school cupboard so I looked up the verse this morning and it appears that the error lies with my edition rather than King Jimmie’s translators.

I have two copies of the aforesaid edition, published to commemorate the third jubilee of the British and Foreign Bible Society 1804-1954.  Edited by John Sterling with line drawings by Horace Knowles.

Not as memorable as breeches or adultery, but it seems that the printer’s devil tradition of giving rise to special editions of the bible is still alive and well.

Followed by:

Checked another edition of KJV while Christmas shopping and the apostrophe was in there as well, so it isn’t a case of the BFSBS Jubilee edition getting it wrong but of Gideons having corrected it.

Bible Gateway and Biblos don’t show the error in their King James texts, however Google gives two valid links with that spelling.

Incidentally, how come there is no apostrophe in “King James Version”?

A whole new place for an apostrophe

Sorry about this.  I promise I will only ever post the really odd ones.  I’ve never before seen an apostrophe here.  It’s when it should be its, yeah.  And the other way round.  But not its’. I’m impressed.

Apostrophe madness at Kew

Apostrophe madness at Kew

This is from one of the gift shops in Kew Gardens or Kew Gardens’ as we should presumably write it.

More low flying apostrophes

It’s wrong of me to pick on a  comment posted in haste on a web site without a preview feature and critique the use of apostrophes isn’t it?

Yes it is.  Of course it is.  So I’ll let you critique them yourself:

Was astounded at how the country is divided into very tight areas where Sikhs, Bengali’s, Kashmiri Muslims, Pakistani Muslims and Hindu’s live.  (The TimesOnline)

Ach, I can’t resist.  There  seems to be an awkwardness about pluralising words that end in a vowel.  What do you think?  And every day I see naked posessives stripped of their apostrophes, following the german usage.  

Do you know something?  I find this change in the language exciting.  

Who am I kidding?

Who am I kidding? This blog so is going to include a collection of bizare apostrophes.

My sister took the trouble to scan and email me this particualar peach from the beach.  Good, innit?  I particularly like NEW S-PAPER’S. 


So basic, there’s no apostrophe

I so knew I shouldn’t start blogging about apostrophes.  

I found these in Sainsbury’s the other day.  Ironic, for a company which is so fussy about its own apostrophe.  

Sainsbury's basics, now with missing apostrophe

Sainsbury's basics, now with missing apostrophes

I love this packaging because I think that using the apostrophe for the posessive is a 16th century affectation (as I’ve said elsewhere) and I like the look of the words without excess punctuation.  

It’s also so refreshing to find missing apostrophes, instead of unecessary ones.  Big sis sent me some of those which I’ll post later in the week.  

The socks are ok too.



Query that

Query that

I don’t want this blog to turn in to series of photographs of low flying apostrophes but they do seem to fall out of the sky at me.    This one of course is in the right place, but it still amused me.   ‘Tis the season to be jolly?

More apostrophising

This one is beyond comment.  It’s outside one of the buildings where I work.  Good, i’n’ it? 


More on apostrophes here.

1’st Choice HGV,s

Eats, shoots & leaves

I’ve given up on the apostrophe.

In fact I gave up on it about four years ago when I realised that correcting the spelling and punctuation in a set of slides put out by the guy that god reports to was (a) rude (b) pointlessly picky and (c) quite possibly career-limiting.

Now, instead of wincing at erratic apostrophes I merely collect them.

The three most recent and most extreme examples are:

  • HGV,s
  • 1’st Choice
  • Madra’s Curry

HGV,s was on a matrix sign on a motorway and it’s splendid because the punctuation in question isn’t even an apostrophe.  1’st Choice is a taxi firm.  I assume that the chef in the pub isn’t called Madra.

Apostrophes are traditionally used in two circumstances:

  1. to show that something has been cut out (cannot becomes can’t, and so on) and
  2. to show that someone owns something (The Business Analyst’s Blog).

This second use is fiddly when you are dealing with plurals (Boys’ Toys / Children’s Books) and that makes people nervous.  They know they’re confused by apostrophes and plurals and they bung ’em in when they think no-one’s looking and hope for the best.  For years Over-Educated of Tunbridge Wells has raged about the increasing use of the apostrophe to handle awkward plurals (Avocado’s), but even Lynn Truss acknowledges that the apostrophe is a useful solution to the tricky problem of how to pluralise abbreviations (HGV’s, PC’s).  Language is extreme democracy so it’s just a matter of time.

However, I take the radical view that the apostrophe has no business getting itself muddled up with possessives in the first place.  In German, where so much of our language came from, they have no truck with apostrophes: they just add the -s on the end of a posessive (Bens Blog) and are done with it.  I’m convinced the possessive apostrophe sneaked into English in the early days of printing when punctuation was a free for all.

I still use the apostrophe the way I was taught to, but deep in my heart I don’t really care.

For a funny and accessible introduction to punctuation read Lynn Truss’s Eats, Shoots and Leaves.  We disagree about the apostrophe, but it’s still a useful book if you write documents or prepare slides.