6.10.2005

Apostrophe Atrophy

Billboard on the freeway:

THE
BIG
DIP
GRAND RAPIDS
ONLY WATER PARK

I can see the choice to ignore all punctuation. It's graphically eye-catching. It makes me want to go there. But on first read, I do a full stop after "Grand Rapids."

The Big Dip. Grand Rapids. Only water park.

If they're punctuation-averse, OK. But I submit that the apostrophe making G.R. possessive must be there... not only because it's correct, but to signal that the next line is a part of the same sentence.

Then, there's this:
I saw this sign days after buying a house sign for "The Sanders'". It made me think of the two minutes spent discussing its punctuation. The lady who was making the sign said there needn't be any, because we're answering the question:

Who lives here?
The Sanders family. The Sanders. Or: The Sanderses.

I argued:
It's not an answer to a question, it's a statement: this is the Sanders' residence.

Luckily, she was not up for a spirited debate. And, I was the one paying. I'm right, yes? If not, it's already mounted on a house...

3 comments:

eric j. sherman said...

I would disagree with both of you. Don't put your name of the side of your house... period. Who needs to know? If you want people to know, tell them verbally. Why advertise? Are you selling Mary Kaye or something?

I am not going to put my name on the side of my house just like it is not going on my answering machine... well, that is, if I had a house or some place to live.

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

Wow... it's a good thing I had them take down the "Sanders Live Here!" billboard they had in the yard. You would have really thought that was overboard.

dogfaceboy said...

I'm in the middle of a fight with a friend right now over Sparrows Point. It wasn't always without an apostrophe. The friend thinks it was and that it shouldn't have one.

If a place is named after a person, doesn't it become his place? Sparrow's Point, Fell's Point, and the like are correct.

I'm right about the prior apostrophe; that's easy enough to verify. But what's the rule for apostrophes when a place is named for a singular person? Or even the person's family, as in the Sparrows? Wouldn't proper punctuation require the apostrophe (after the s in the latter case)?

E-mail me, if you can; there's no trackback. (dogfaceboy@gmail.com)