December 17th, 2003


Spelling Nazi

The interim pastor here has a last name ending in s. For the bon voyage celebration for his family, the announcement sent to me began, "Join us in celebrating the ______s'!" Since this is like nails on a blackboard for the English minor in me, I corrected it to read "...______ses!" before publication. Apparently this caused quite a stir and laugh in some circles, even being referred to as "Hobbit spelling." So said interim pastor tried to "set me straight" today, resulting in my having to look it up and provide the following response:
From: banzai
To: Interim Pastor
CC: Bonehead
Subject: On ______ses

From :
Simple plural nouns do not take apostrophes. Special, joy, and grandma are pluralized with a plain s. Words that end in an s sound, like boss or buzz, get an es ending. That includes proper nouns. Mr. and Mrs. Withers are the Witherses (not the Withers'), and their dog is the Witherses' dog. Forms like Withers' are appearing more often in writing these days, but the above rule is the original.
It can appear however you like in the OW (it's your name), but this is in fact the rule. Just let me know by noon Thursday.

Please feel free to forward and share with anyone concerned with my editing.
When will people learn to just listen to me?

P.S. He still wants to have it revised to read "______s'," regardless of the fact that it's wrong.
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