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If there was a three-strikes law for punctuation errors, this sign would have done it all in one fell swoop. The Evil Editor wants the header to say "live well, be well, punctuate well" in big red letters.

This sign could be a 10-point exam question. Let's start at the top. We can assume that there is more than one Ortiz brother, otherwise why not just give a full-name credit to the sole Ortiz that is this market? To someone's credit, to indicate possession is correct. They knew an apostrophe was supposed to go in there somewhere, but it landed one space to the left of correct.

Moving down the list of crimes is "Farmer's Market". As we already established above, it is most likely that there is more than one Ortiz brother. Which means there is more than one farmer. But here is where I must consult an authoritative source - is the word farmers/farmer's/farmers' meant to be an adjective or specifically a possessive? It's like Nurses Station. Or is it Nurses' Station?

Googling variations on the term, I see that there is general confusion. The simple, unpunctuated Farmers Market comes up about as many times as Farmers' Market. In support of the latter is the California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets. So I thought I would check on what the practice is here in Sonoma County, where we are a veritable fruit basket.

A basket of fruity punctuators, apparently, because the whole damn county is served by fruit and veg markets of just one farmer each! Wouldn't it be better to gather more than one farmer at a time for greater fun and offerings? Or perhaps have your website proofread by someone with a firmer grasp on punctuation? I'm not kidding - read it and weep.

Last, but not least - "Monday's." This probably falls in the category of "it just looked better that way" (see earlier entry on Italian Soda's) as people may suffer when seeing a "y" and "s" next to each other without an apostrophe to make visual space. But it is incorrect. This time I consulted Lynn Truss' "Eats, Shoots, & Leaves" to make sure there was no editorial wiggle-room for visual esthetics. There isn't. Although she states you may use apostrophes to pluralize some words, it is only when referring to the word as a word. For example:

"Are there too many but's and and's at the beginning of sentences these days?"

So, Ortiz Brothers who host a Farmers' Market on Mondays, your sign gets three strikes!

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This page contains a single entry by Emma published on March 2, 2011 4:42 PM.

Apostrophes: use them, don't abuse them was the previous entry in this blog.

Christy in her Chicken Hat is the next entry in this blog.

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