|Ask Anne: apostrophe abusing yard signs|
|Tuesday, January 17, 2012|
I know you just wrote about using apostrophes, [“Ask Anne,” The Wilson Post, January 4, 2012] but please tell us which of these neighborhood signs is correct. Thank you. The Jone’s (family name is Jones); The Brown’s; The Hasners’
- Oh, Where Is the Neighborhood Headed?
Oh, I’m glad to share with you, QP of T, (Question Person of Today) after I disguised the names to protect the innocent like you, that what I’m guessing could be your neighborhood is having trouble heading anywhere. It’s rather too bogged in error. You’ve only one on your list that passes muster (The Hasners).
[Oh, please, readers, don’t be saying passes mustard unless it’s concerning dressing a hot dog or hamburger. (That’s an odd word picture – a hot dog in a frilly dress, a hamburger with a suit and tie.) Muster has a Latin origin meaning to show or display. In English it is now associated with a military inspection. Muster out is to discharge from service; muster roll is a register of the officers and personnel in a military unit. Muster is an ancient relative of monster. A hint of this is shown in demonstrate. Thank you, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.]
The possessive is not needed in a yard placard identifying the family who live in the residence. Simply The Joneses (plural of the name Jones) is enough. If wishing to cast doubt about the number of Joneses living there, put only Jones on the sign.
It’s not wrong to use the possessive. Writing The Joneses’ leaves out the implied Home or House or (for un-reconstituted mid-century types) Pad. It’s fine to do that if the apostrophe is placed correctly. INCORRECT PLACEMENT OF APOSTROPHE: The Jone’s (literally means, “Belonging to the Jone.”) The Brown’s (literally means, “Belonging to the Brown.”)
I think the apostrophe abuse is worsening. Manufacturers of the little yard signs happily produce mistake after mistake. If they know how to shape bronze and put letters on it, which seems to me to be a tricky, complicated business, they should also be able to reach out and embrace correct usage, even if the purchaser has requested the mess. (I do know a local case in which an English teacher – not me – gave incorrect advice to an embroidery business!)
It’s live and learn, so let’s learn.
ONLINE DEPARTMENT CLASSIC “Church Ladies” (Thanks, J. W.) E-mail says, “These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services.” Hmmm. • The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals. • The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.” • Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you. • Don't let worry kill you off - let the church help. • Miss Charlene Mason sang “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs. • Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get. • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. • The anthem chosen for next Sunday is “Preserve Us, O Lard.” • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What Is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice. • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones. • Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered. • The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility. • Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow. • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon. • This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin. • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done. • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday. • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door. • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy. • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance. • The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: “I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.”
BW (Bigtime Word) orison - a prayer. Do you need to raise your orison frequency level? Up your OFL, OK?
by Anne Dowell