Grammatical renegades

There are three types of shop.

There are the grammatical stalwarts, clinging to the apostrophe in their Men’s, Women’s and Children’s departments, no doubt seething at the lacking punctuation in Menswear and the like.

There are the grammatical heathens, with signs directing you to the Childrens’ Department or the Womens’ Toilets, but correctly to the Men’s Shoes. Inconsistency abounds.

And finally, there are the grammatical renegades. These are the ones that have actively shunned the awkward apostrophe that sits within departments’ signage, but that have done so consistently, resolutely and boldly.

Clarks is a good example of the latter. You won’t find a single apostrophe on their website. Their departments are Boys, Girls, Mens, Womens. It’s clear that they’ve made an active choice to shun it, possibly for SEO reasons, possibly for typographical beauty and neatness, likely a combination of the two.

And while it may grate at first, I have to respect them for the decision. The fact that it is an active decision makes it admirable. They know what they’re doing, and they know that it’s technically wrong, but they’re pushing forward regardless, on the basis that life without it will be easier than that with it. Just as Waterstone’s announced last week.

(The slight awkwardness comes when branding meets the written word. Their marketing emails talk of savings on men’s boots, with graphics advertising great savings on mens styles.)

Notwithstanding, as long as people know what they’re doing, I’m all for a bold move like this. It’s the grammatical heathens that you’ve got to worry about.

Posted by Dan, 21 January, 2012 under Life

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