Thursday, July 3, 2008

This Sign Drives Me Crazy


If I had thought this through better, I would have posted this photo yesterday and kept "What is it Wednesday?" going with a slight change:  What is it about-this-sign-that-drives-me-crazy Wednesday?  However, since I didn't think to do that, I'll just have to rant about it myself.

While walking through the TACA Arts and Craft Fair in both October and May, I saw this sign gracing the side of the tent that held activities for children.  The sign should read:  Just For Kids.  The apostrophe is used to show possession, not pluralization.  The only exceptions - and even these are debated - is when pluralizing numbers (There were five number 2's in the deck of cards.), letters (How many B's did you get on your report card?)  and sometimes words (The no's have it.).  Journalists who use the AP Stylebook do not use the apostrophe to pluralize even nouns in those three categories.

I cannot figure out how or why Americans suddenly started using an apostrophe to pluralize nouns.  The manager of the Albertson's store I frequented when I lived in Las Vegas actually changed a number of signs because I pointed out that the plural of pizza is "pizzas," not "pizza's;" that the plural of tomato is "tomatoes," not "tomato's;" that the plural of  orange is "oranges," not "orange's."  I did seek out fair officials to mention the error on this sign both times, and, of course, they didn't change it between the two shows.  

You may ask why I care so much about the mistakes on signs.  First of all, a business should be professional and use correct grammar and spelling in its store publications and advertising and on store displays and signs.  Secondly, children see these incorrect signs and assume that since they are displayed in stores or businesses, they are correct.  

Off the grammatical soapbox for today. . . . .

11 comments:

Ming the Merciless said...

I'll admit I'm not an expert in the English language but certain common mistakes just make me want to scream. The most common offense I heard when I lived in Louisana was the phrase that starts with "We was...". Even people with college education make the same mistake.

quinttarantino said...

I'm with you Chris.
Things should be properly.

Jim said...

My head hurts. I may not know the correct use, but I will ask before spending money or making myself look stoopid.

D said...

Chris, we have the same pet peeve.
I HATE the misused apostrophe!
Do you also cringe at signs with misspelled words? How about those signs with misspelled words for alliterative effect, like "Kountry Kooking?"
Horrid

Virginia said...

OOOHHH Lordy, don't get me started. I taught 3rd grade for 19 years and fought that apostrophe battle on a daily basis. Maybe if the adults could get it right, the kiddos could too. Whew, I feel better now.

Lake Lady said...

Glad for the company on my soapbox! My two biggest pet peeves in the public eye are signs like you've all mentioned and the Texas flag flying upside-down! I clearly remember learning to spell lots of words from signs when I was small. No wonder our kids spell so poorly today!

ken mac said...

oh, it took me a minute. Who made that sign? I see those moronic, un-needed apostrophes everywhere!

Halcyon said...

PREACH IT!!! :D
It also drives me mad when people misuse the English language. French people have a tendency to stick apostrophes on the end of everything when they write in English. But since it's their second language, I can forgive them. I'll have to find some grammatically erroneous signs around here to publish as well.

Halcyon said...

PS: I cannot forgive educated, adult Americans though.

GMG said...

Ola Chris!
Oh dear, you should come here and listen to the Portuguese TV: they are always killing Portuguese language and I'm always complaining; but it seems that most of people don't even notice... ;))
Loved to see the other signs. About the gas crisis, I was in NYC for the first time in 1979 and saw the discussions on tv; amazing!
Thanks for your comment on Blogtrotter, now on its last post on Santiago de Compostela! Wish you a great 4th of July and wonderful weekend!

Knoxville Girl said...

Oh thank you from this punctuation pedant! The first thin I thought when I saw this sign was "kid's WHAT?"