geek, thy name is Simon

So we’ve been putting Chelsea to bed at night in her ‘big bed’ and to make sure she goes to sleep without getting up multiple times, we’ve been taking turns sitting beside her in the chair, and just reading. Last night I took Eats, Shoots and Leaves in with me and instantly regretted it as I began giggling uncontrollably over this passage. Ok, so I was a little tired and it’s easier to get going like that when you’re not supposed to (eg. church), but it’s still kind of funny. The author is giving a whole bunch of actual examples of misplaced or missing apostrophes. Comments in brackets are hers:

Singular possessive instead of simple plural (the “greengrocer’s apostrophe”):
Trouser’s reduced
Coastguard Cottage’s
Next week: nouns and apostrophe’s! (BBC website advertising a grammar course for children)

Singular possessive instead of plural possessive:
Pupil’s entrance (on a very selective school, presumably)
Adult Learner’s Week (lucky him)
Frog’s Piss (French wine putting unfair strain on single frog)
Member’s May Ball (but with whom will the member dance?)
Nude Reader’s Wives (intending “Readers’ Nude Wives”, of course, but conjuring up an interesting picture of polygamous nude reader attended by middle-aged women in housecoats and fluffy slippers)

Plural possessive instead of singular possessive:
Lands’ End (mail-order company which roundly denies anything wrong with name)
Bobs’ Motors

Dangling expectations caused by incorrect pluralisation:
Pansy’s ready (is she?)
Cyclist’s only (his only what?)
Please replace the trolley’s (replace the trolley’s what?)

and best of all:
Nigger’s out (a sign seen in New York, under which was written, wickedly: “But he’ll be back shortly”)

Unintentional sense from unmarked possessive:
Dicks in tray (try not to think about it)
New members welcome drink (doubtless true)

Someone knows an apostrophe is required…but where, oh where?
It need’nt be a pane (on a van advertising discount glass)
Ladie’s hairdresser
Mens coat’s
Childrens’ education…(in a letter from the head of education at the National Union of Teachers)
The Peoples Princess’ (on memorial mug)
Freds’ restaurant

Doubtless there will be more to amuse me in the coming weeks.


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