Monday, May 7, 2007

6. The Unnecessary S /'S

Hey, Y'all, and I hope you're all doing well!

Our next lesson deals with a strange little usage seen around these parts I've been asked about several times, so I'll try to offer a little insight.

Why do we hear the letter S/'S added to words sometimes when it isn't necessary? Here are some prime examples:

Shannon is going to Wal-MartS/'S as soon as she finishes her art work. (Wal-Mart is just one store. Even though there are hundreds of Wal-Mart storeS, Shannon is visiting only one of them.)

The drive from Whiteville to DukeS/'S Hospital in Durham took so long that Stephanie was able to read five chapters of her book. (Duke is ONE hospital, so there's no need to put an S on the end.)

The KangarooS/'S gas station on Madison Street had the best gas prices in town last weekend. (Again, even though there are many Kangaroo gas stations, you are speaking of only one of them.)

This problem is likely related to the S or 'S added to many names of businesses: Dale's Seafood, Joe's Barbeque, Smith's Funeral Home, HillS Food Stores, Visionmasters Eye Care Services, etc. As you can see, sometimes just an S is used in the name, and sometimes an 'S is used. This, of course, raises other usage problems having do to with possession and plurals--topics we will take a look at in depth as this blog continues. For right now, though, just try to remember what the proper noun is for the business--does it say Wal-Mart or Wal Marts? The answer should help you determine which use is correct.

Thanks for visiting and have a great week! GG


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you addressed this one. It is a pet peeve of mine. Please consider addressing "further" and "farther" in a fututre blog. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I ,too, am glad that you addressed plurals and plural possessives...but what about those who go to Wal-MarK?? another of my pet peeves.

Anonymous said...

It would be great if you could address 1960's versus 1960s. For example: He owned a bookstore in the 1960s (or is it 1960's?). Another example: For Halloween, he dressed up as a 1990s (or is it 1990's?) cartoon character.

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So is I think we all make that mistake and sometimes unconsciously