I was walking down the street in my lovely London village of St Margaret’s when, shock and horror, I spotted a shop sign: ‘St Margarets XXX’. (I don’t want to name and shame this shop, so let’s call it XXX for now). This was written not only on the main shop front, but also on the billboards outside.
My father – the most eloquent and grammatically astute person I know – says I am making a mountain out of a molehill. He says it’s a linguistic change over the years that has now become the norm and is, therefore, totally acceptable in colloquial speech.
But I don’t agree. My annoyance is twofold: firstly, St Margaret’s must have a possessive apostrophe in this context, as in this anonymous case it is followed by the plural noun – XXXs; secondly, whatever the meaning behind the village name of St. Margaret’s, there was not a medley of many Margarets of the saintly variety running around trying to own the place. In fact, even if there were, it would be Saints (Sts if it must be) Margarets.
Actually, I did look up the background and it’s rather interesting. The name comes from a country house in the area where Lord and Lady whatnot lived. But anyway, I digress.
It seems the norm then these days (sigh) to write St Margaret’s without the apostrophe. When I try and type it leaving the apostrophe out, my spellcheck autocorrects me. I’m glad someone is on my side – even if it’s a robot.
Im not sure why I care, I shouldnt but I do, cos its important, innit.