During a walk along Pacific Ave in Long Beach, WA, I noticed a barrage of signs hanging on a storefront. One sign in particular caught my eye mostly because of its funny typo and not necessarily because of its content – though I certainly didn’t encourage my wife to go into the store after taking this picture. The authors of The Great Typo Hunt might want to add this to their list of typos to fix.
Thanks, jon.langen, for sending us this photo during your recent travels. I’d like to believe that the incorrect use of the apostrophe is actually a dollop of mud or something, but there’s just too much space between the E and the S for that to be the case. It’s unfortunate that nobody proofread the cardboard cutout before the guy with the spray can climbed all the way up to this I-beam.
I had dinner with some friends this past weekend. The main course was a Moroccan dish served up with naan and couscous paired with a glass of Layer Cake Shiraz. Over dinner we discussed the website, and I shared a little about my aspirations for the site. We then talked about the various nuances of grammar and style. Eventually apostrophe usage came into the conversation. When is it used? When isn’t it used? Before or after the “s”?
Take the name Lands’ End for example. I’ve always thought it was a simple plural possessive vs. singular possessive mistake. When I mentioned this, someone commented that maybe the retailer meant to say Lands’ End as in the end of the plural “lands”.
So I decided to take 5 seconds to investigate. According to the Lands’ End website the apostrophe after the “s” was a typo in their first printed piece, but they couldn’t afford to fix it. Apparently, this typo didn’t hurt their business at all. In fact, I bet the typo has generated buzz for the company over the years, especially among English teachers, wordsmiths and grammarians, who have probably complained about the egregious mistake but still bought the clothes. Maybe someone reading this blog post will follow the link to the Lands’ End site and end up buying a pair of socks or something, proving that a typo can be good sometimes.
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