On brisk treks that take us through a nearby subdivision (three-mile treks, exactly), Elaine and I have noticed some rocks of a kind not found in nature: large slabs proclaiming glory, as if a household were a bank or investment firm. The slabs stand in front yards and read like so:
The DOE’SThe date varies. But that apostrophe? Every slab has one. Ouch. Garner’s Modern American Usage explains:
Although few books on grammar mention the point, proper names often cause problems as plurals. The rule is simple: most take a simple -s, while those ending in -s, -x, or -z, or in a sibilant -ch or -sh, take -es.The householder’s apostrophe, as I will call it, is a common sight on mailboxes or small woodburned signs. There it looks homemade, quaint. On mighty slabs, it looks farcical.
Householders, if you must proclaim your glory to the passerby, think of the way bands manage their names: The Beatles. Or better: The Smiths. Plural, not possessive.
Other posts, other rocks
Some rocks : Zippy : Zippy : Zippy : Zippy : Zippy : Lassie and Zippy : Conversational rocks
[“Some rocks” is a minor Orange Crate Art preoccupation that has developed from my affection for Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy and Bill Griffith’s Zippy.]