What’s so hard about an apostrophe?!

22 11 2015

When I was a kid at school I had a French teacher (ironic as you’ll soon see) who used to call apostrophes “tombstones”. They marked the death of one or more letters, he said. Handy little reminder that’s stood me in good stead over the intervening decades. Didn’t account for the possessive case but, hey ho…

Moving to Canada in my thirties then, I have been irritated almost daily by the national chain of coffee shops opened in 1964 by Tim Horton. The first was called “Tim Horton Donuts” which was completely non-contentious, despite the dodgy spelling of doughnuts.

Source: BlogTO

Then though, it got popular and re-branded as “Tim Horton’s”. Trouble was, those pesky language police in Quebec decided that the possessive apostrophe was a peculiarly ENGLISH thing and simply could not be tolerated in the province of Quebec. Putting “Chez Tim Horton” on all the packaging in addition to “Tim Horton’s” was just too big an ask, so a compromise was reached and they simply dropped the apostrophe. The now defunct Eaton’s chain went  simply by “Eaton” there for similar reasons. And that, dear reader is why we’re stuck with “Tim Hortons” coffee shops.

So I’m OK with all this to a degree, but why, oh why does that excuse the incorrect usage of apostrophes in all their advertising? Especially here in English-speaking BC?

Bu's Advert (sic)

Bu’s Advert (sic)



3 responses

25 11 2015

I can’t believe they’ve done that! That’s atrocious. If that was me I’d probably spend a few moments staring in confusion trying to wonder what ‘tims’ are.

Still though, the good ol’ U S of A is ahead of you. I recently saw the advert for a film called “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”. That’s not a typo on my part. That’s actually how it’s written – like a child wrote it.

25 11 2015
Quieter Elephant

Number 1 offspring said that film wasn’t as bad as one might imagine, BTW. Still – I imagined it pretty bad! Seems it’s a bit of a back-handed nod to the benefits of being a Scout.

25 11 2015
Quieter Elephant

At least someone there understands apostrophes (and is happy to ignore the French language police). I suspect though that the foundation is a separate entity: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/childrens-foundation/index.php

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