Monday, January 22, 2007

The Internet and the apostrophe's demise

Around our house this weekend we spent more time than I care to admit chewing over how, or whether, or where to insert an apostrophe in the name of the "Queen of Diamonds Jewelry," a local business.

I made a cavalier statement about the punctuation in an earlier post. I knew I'd be in trouble....

So, should it be as it is above and on the store's sign, or should it be "Queen of Diamonds'" (perhaps...see Shawn Levy's comment), or should it be "Queen's of Diamonds" (no way!)?

No wonder this one falls into the "gave up trying" category mentioned in the book "Eats Shoots and Leaves."

I was settling into acceptance of the vague when I spotted a bus with a "" sign on the front of it. Certainly Michael Powell would know better than that. Indeed he does, as the store's sign clearly shows. The inconsistency is apparent on the Powell's home page. One header, two punctuations.

Consider Annie Bloom's, our Multnomah Village book seller. Same problem. It's "Annie Bloom's" on the store but "" on the web.

The missing space between the given and proper names begins to get to the problem. The Web, in its techno-wisdom, doesn't like apostrophes (or spaces) in URLs. And that, fellow nit-pickers, could be the beginning of the end of apostrophes as we know them.

"Starbucks" was just ahead of its time.

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