A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


English police

We all make mistakes. We all make errors. Even I have made the occasional gaffe in English construction. I probably did so quite recently. But you know, I do know how to use apostrophes properly.

Thursday's Here's the sign I saw at Hardee's at lunch today. Please note the apostrophe on the word Thursday's [sic]. Please note also the otherwise professional appearance of this sign. (And disregard the unprofessional photography.) This sign came from a corporate center somewhere — it wasn't printed off by a local store manager. Which likely means it went up and down in a design department somewhere, was approved by management, and was sent out to stores across the country. How many eyes saw the final design before it was? Yet, someone — or perhaps several someones — on the Hardee's corporate ladder thought it was ok.

I've been saying this for years, but I shall say it once more. Apostrophes are not used to form plurals of words. If you don't believe me, here's what Purdue University has to say:

The apostrophe has three uses: to form possessives of nouns, to show the omission of letters, and to indicate certain plurals of lowercase letters. Don't use apostrophes for possessive pronouns or for noun plurals.

How about Oxford University Press?

Don't use an apostrophe to form a plural. A sentence like 'Please keep the gate's clear' is wrong. Use an apostrophe to indicate possession, or to show that a word has been contracted.

I always thought this was common sense, but today, Hardee's proved me wrong. And apparently it's a more common fallacy than I believed — I see things like this everywhere. Given that, this won't be my last post on this subject... so stay tuned.

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