Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I still get surprised when I am handed a responsibility. I have had responsibility for years now--chores at home, driver's license--but people acutally valuing my opinion about things is actually quite a new phenomenon. I have found myself on the planning committee for an event at school held by the English honor society, and please don't think I'm just being modest when I say I am not the brains of the operation. By no means. Likewise, at work, I actually have to make decisions that affect other people. People actually ask my opinion about things. And take my word for things. This is what happened on Friday. I had to hang a series of letters that said "Men's Shoes". This particular English major took issue with the placement of the apostrophe, and indignantly assured the regional manager of the company that it should be "Mens' Shoes".

Me: I am positive about this. All department stores do it and it drives me crazy. It's just not grammatically correct.

RM: Well...if you say so. If anyone says anything to me about it I'll just tell them we had an English degree-holder fix it.

Me: (swelling with pride) Great. Thanks a lot, I just wanted to make sure it's gramatically correct.

RM: Yeah, well, just make it right.

Me: Absolutely. I just hate when things aren't grammatically correct.

It was wrong. I had to go back the next day and change the apostrophe, then act like I hadn't thrown around the phrase "gramatically correct" like I was the final word in English punctuation. Because if I was, I would dispense with the apostrophe altogether and change the letters on the wall to say "Shoes de the Men" like the Spanish do. In righteous punishment of the English language for embarrassing me.


jennifer said...

why weren't you right? it's not like "mens" is the plural form. men *is* plural. so men's would be right. wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

In these important situations, I find it beneficial to pause a moment, take a deep breath, and ask myself, "is the word that is being posessive already plural or do I have to make it that way with an 's'?" :D But it's ok. At least you didn't use an apostrophe to make it plural (ie "He wore his shoe's today). My grammatical pet peeve!! I have problems with seeing my own name in the posessive, should it have an extra s on the end? Or should the poor little apostrophe float off on its own. (Its is another one of the confusing ones I have to think about--its vs. it's.) And, at least you expressed yourself with confidence, whether you were correct or not. This is something to be admired. -Steph