Monday, March 27, 2006

Apostrophe 's': We'll add it to everything

By Jamesetta Walker
The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS

Your spouse ended up at St. Dominic's after passing out when he saw your receipts from JCPenney's. He came to and reminded you there won't be any money to buy much-needed groceries at Kroger's.

Could that scenario really happen? I guess so, if there were such a place as a St. Dominic's, a JCPenney's and a Kroger's.

There aren't any such places. For some reason or another, there is a chip in the brain of a lot of us to add possession to the name of a business.

McRae's, however, was indeed named McRae's. Now, new signs have gone up and awareness letters have been mailed to customers.

McRae's is no more. The department store's new name is Belk.

It will take about 50 years for 50 percent of us to let go of the name McRae's. And for about 40 percent of the rest who attempt to go with the new name, the store still won't be called Belk.

It will be Belk's.

I was well into my 30s when I paid enough attention one day to the sign at a fave drug store.

I gasped. "I've been calling it Eckerd's all my life!" Plainly and simply enough, it was just Eckerd.


The possessive that tickles me most is one I first heard while living in Ohio. Some co-workers would say they shopped at Wal-Mart's.

Where on the moon is Wal-Mart's?

While I find the "S Factor" to be an interesting observation of culture, grammarian Gerry Cain of Ridgeland says the lack of attention to correct wording is more serious.

"I get frustrated," the former teacher and principal says. "(People) don't look.

"I believe people aren't as concerned with correct grammar or punctuation just as much as they are not concerned with our morals and our dress anymore."

Cain joined the local chapter of High Noon Toastmasters three years ago. The international group is dedicated to helping individuals improve speaking skills.

Although she deemed herself to be a pretty polished speaker, Cain said she was surprised at some of her language infractions. Change has been gradual.

"It has taken me three years. It hasn't happened overnight."


No joking: Once particular language becomes ingrained, it can take a while to shake.

And oh, I really do hope my hubby won't have to go to St. Dominic after seeing the JCPenney bill, because I do understand the kids need Pullups from Kroger and we need medicine from Eckerd.

Wait, hasn't Eckerd been CVS for a couple of years now?


  1. The addition of the 's', better known as good ole fashioned inability to read, really irks me. There is this guy at work who calls Brio (restaurant) "Brio's." It really really grates on the nerves. Read the sign people!!!

  2. The one that kills me is Wal-Mart's. I got no idea where people get this from!