My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 06:47:04 AM

Title: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 06:47:04 AM
Hi - query...a lot of my work involves writing descriptions/content for websites. My most recent commission is in the realm of retail..specifically clothing. Not only on the site on which I work but everywhere on the net it seems...the retail industry doesn't appear to use possessive apostrophes.

Should I continue correcting...ladies trousers, childrens sweatshirts, mens fleeces or is that not the done thing? I feel compelled to slip in the apostrophes. >:(
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: Tempered on October 13, 2010, 07:21:01 AM
I wonder if it's just because of the trouble of just using the '  which only signifies possession but also takes up room, cost money in print to make the signs. maybe that's why they remove it more than grammatical reasons. Each letter costs in that field.

But I am just guessing
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 08:05:12 AM
Well..nobody's pulled me up about it and it is typed live to the website so cost and space aren't issues in this case///that's my line of defence anyway! :P
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: Nick on October 13, 2010, 08:15:52 AM
You have my sympathy - I hate it when I see this in stores!

You could maybe make a case that the word 'ladies' in ladies trousers is descriptive rather than possessive, so doesn't need an apostrophe. However, that argument clearly doesn't work with mens or childrens, so I'd definitely put apostrophes in those expressions. Not doing so looks uneducated and just plain wrong in my eyes.

Nick  :)
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 08:22:45 AM
Thanks for that! Even if the ladies is descriptive my corporate ladies' trousers shall have their apostrophe!
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: Nick on October 13, 2010, 08:43:21 AM
Fair enough. It's good to be consistent about this, in any event.

I would definitely be more inclined to buy my clothes from a store that used apostrophes correctly  ;)
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: LRSuda on October 13, 2010, 09:01:35 AM
I agree with Nick and-- wow!-- I sure don't want to argue with the big guy, but I think the industry standard has to be taken into account, as well. That everyone is doing it doesn't make it right. However, the vast majority of consumers are not writers and, since the possessive apostrophe is never used in stores, fliers, etc. (that I have seen), it could be that ladies, mens, and childrens is considered a descriptive. But, if you don't have to deal with an editor who may just delete all of your well placed possessive apostrophes, what the hell, go for it.  ;D

Lisa
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 09:03:39 AM
We will fight from within and subvert the industry!!!
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: Hugh on October 13, 2010, 10:00:03 AM

 That everyone is doing it doesn't make it right.
 


How true. It’s the same with non-possessive apostrophes. We had a leaflet through the door recently, advertising pub grub in a local hostelry. It included some sample “menu’s”.

I seems to me to be part of a general decline in standards generally, whether through lack of proper education, a deliberate attempt to be “different”, or just plain ignorance.

In my opinion it is up to those of us who at least try to get our grammar and punctuation reasonably correct, to do what we can to stop the rot — to fight against the “So what?” attitude creeping into every aspect of life.

So I agree that you should do what you know is right, 510bhan, even if some of those you are writing for are too ignorant to appreciate it.

Hugh
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 10:14:34 AM
Must admit apostrophe fever does seem to have become an epidemic. Also it really bugs me when poor old restaurants or hairdressers or whoever pay out good money for printing from a profession?? agency/service. My local Chinese restaurant had a big poster saying that among their specials was...green paper sauce... I pointed it out to the manager [can't help myself and feel sorry when someone has been ripped off]. His English was limited and he quickly checked his flyers where green pepper was written. I told him to ask the printers to redo it...really when someone isn't very good at English and then send or say something over the phone...if it appears/sounds incorrect it is a professional responsibility to clarify it. 2nite might be exactly what the client wants, xtra, might be what they want for effect. Needs to be clarified though and the standard alternative offered so that it can be rejected. Green paper was most definitely not what he wanted advertised!
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: Gyppo on October 13, 2010, 10:29:14 AM
Green aper sauce.  tasty...

When you decorate cakes for a living you have to be extra careful about spellings.  Ideally you get the customer to print the names, and any message for you, and then check you've read it correctly.  When taking orders over the phone this is even more important.

I once worked for a man who was often less than thorough in this respect.  He took an order for a leaving party cake, scribbled it down on a bit of paper, and decorated it the next day.  Those of us who saw it before it left the shop assumed it was some kind of 'in joke'.  You get used to odd cakes after a while, with messages like 'Fuck off you old bastard', for someone who may indeed be a highly popular but foul mouthed colleague.  Retirement cakes are particularly prone to this sort of dark humour.

But it seems the friends of the outgoing Mr Les Behan weren't best pleased to receive a cake emblazoned 'Goodbye Lesbian'.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: LRSuda on October 13, 2010, 11:13:35 AM
LOL "Goodbye Lesbian," huh? That's funny.  ;D
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 11:23:30 AM
 :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

EXCELLENT MISTAKE!
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: Gyppo on October 13, 2010, 02:56:11 PM
I'd call it carelessness and unprofessional lack of attention to detail myself.  But, Les's daughter was a friend of my sister and when he heard about it later he was quite amused.  But the people who paid for the cake, and whipped it back to the shop to be quickly corrected, were bloody livid.

The man who decorated the cake seemed quite bewildered by all the fuss.  I honestly believe he still heard what they were saying as lesbian.  "But that's what it says..."

Gyppo 
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: 510bhan on October 13, 2010, 03:10:00 PM
Perhaps they thought the caller had broken it down into syllables so that would really catch it and be clear that LES BEHAN [LES BIAN] was what they wanted after all!

My name is Siobhan...and it is pronounced shove-on...butt of many jokes - most often... shove on yer knickers quick yer da's comin'
Title: Re: Punctuation - possessive apostrophe collective nouns
Post by: WoodridgeNZ on October 18, 2010, 07:23:49 AM
Hi Siobhan - or should I say "Shove on"!

Just saw this, and thought I'd add my 2c worth. I think the reason retailers leave out the apostrophes when writing "ladies'", "men's", etc is simply that they don't know where to put them. The fact that the apostrophe goes after the "s" with "ladies'" & "kids'" and before the "s" with "men's" & "children's" is probably really confusing for them, so they opt to avoid the apostrophes altogether, rather than risk putting them in the wrong place. (Although for some reason, retailers often shove unnecessary apostrophes into plural nouns - especially words the end with a vowel, particularly "o" - e.g., "video's", "tomato's".)

So, help the fight against illiteracy - correct those apostrophes!  8)

Gyppo - loved the cake story!

K