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Media reacts to Waterstones' logo change

The chairman of the Apostrophe Society has called Waterstones' dropping of its apostrophe "just plain wrong", as the national press reacted to the change.

The move was reported in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and on BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme this morning (12th January), with Apostrophe Society chairman John Richards reported as saying: "It's just plain wrong. It's gramatically incorrect. If Sainsbury's and McDonald's can get it right, then why can't Waterstones? You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English."

The Telegraph said the brand reverting to its former style and typeface, using the Baskerville serif font and reinstating the capital "W", was a "consolation for grammar traditionalists", whereas the Mail said dropping the apostrophe "appeared to be a slight to Mr Waterstone, who founded the chain in 1982 with one store in Kensington".

In the Mail's online story, it also reported Twitter users commenting on the move, with one quoted as saying: "Seeing as Waterstones thinks the public is too stupid to manage apostrophes, maybe it's time they just stopped selling books."

M.d. James Daunt called the move "a more versatile and practical spelling" in a "digital world of URLs and email addresses", which "reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers".
 

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On QI Mr Fry said that this whole grocer's apostrophe thing has been going on for over a century. It's Mr. Daunt's company and if they take away the apostrophe it's quite different from taking away the quality of the merchandise that they sell. Controversy breeds publicity and there's no such thing as bad publicity. Over a decade ago the booksellers were agog at the idea of dumbing down, look at the affect that's had. It'll be the same for the apostrophe.
But I miss it.

Does the average person going in to buy a book really care or even notice whether or not there is an apostrophe?
In the current climate there are more important things for the media and the book industry to discuss.

Surely as the shop does not now belong to a [person] Waterstone , then Waterstones is simply a plural and therefore does not require an apostrophe ?

Is "It's just plain wrong" gramatically correct?

Deck chairs and Titanic spring to mind.

If Tim Waterstone had not founded Waterstone's, there would not be a company in place to change their logo! Where, grammatically, an apostrophe is required, it should remain.

Remember Eats, Shoots and Leaves? Or, more correctly (although not so much fun!), Eats shoots, and leaves.

I've been trying to get churches, including my own, former one, to insert an apostrophe, where it is called-for: e.g., St Giles' Church or, in full , the Church of St Giles.

Thank goodness for The Apostrophe Society. Long may you remain in existence!

...............and the band played on

The headline of this article calls them Waterstones'. Is there more than one Waterstone?

Scratching head. There is a business now called Waterstones, and an individual (more than one probably) called Waterstone (Tim). The media was reacting to Waterstones' decision to drop the apostrophe.

Not at all, it's the possessive form of the new singular "Waterstones". That is, the new logo of Waterstones.

Nobody goes to Marks's and Spencer's. Why shouldn't Waterstones drop the apostrophe if they want to? It's their damn apostrophe. If people get so upset about such a footling irrelevance as this, how on earth do they cope with earthquakes and tsunamis?

Surely the possessive is now "Waterstones's" just as in St. James's Park?

Whatever, it is a marvellous distraction from the fact that W is having a torrid time, and actually the high street is looking doomed and book sales through traditional tills are just slightly worrying for the industry!

An anagram of James Daunt: Adjust Name. A coincidence? I think not...

The apostrophe society is just trying to promote itself. Just because McDonald's spells it one way and Waterstones spells it another doesn't mean one is right and one is wrong. It's often the case that two approaches can both be right. One spelling is a possessive and one is a plural. Both are grammatically correct.

I do normally agree with the need to keep apostrophes, because it really irritates me, as an editor, to see them removed where the sense is clearly possessive. But that isn't the case with Waterstones.

I've commented on the importance of branding and why such a small thing as an apostrophe can be important in my post on the other discussion here. So I won't repeat it.

How dull. I hope Stephen Fry wades in. He'll sort it out. Waterstones can call itself what it wants. English is flexible, evolving and creative. Yet why don't we put the apostrophe back in just to please a few odd fellows and whilst doing that destroy these lower case i and e letters that appear in names. iPod? Dear God. How awful. Worst thing to happen. In fact, life isn't worth living. Where's the language gestapo when you need it. All that's wonderful about language, humans, communication, no no. Let's focus on an apostrophe. Let's make a debate out of nothing. Let's pick and choose our examples (MacDonald's) and ignore others (Marks and Spencers).

Or how about the name is now 'Waterstones'. Not named after Tim Waterstone - when did he last work for the company? 1988 or sometime just after? What about the fact most shops have names that have a mixed of uppercase, lowercase, colours and designs that are more about brand, image, and even creativity than kowtowing to language pedants.

And the Baskerville is back. That's great. A lovely typeface. Now, a call for positivity would be lost on the Bookseller and some of its more trollish comments. So yes, let's carry on being negative. Boo hiss at Waterstones. A bookshop chain. Full of thousands of individual booksellers. The last thing we'd like to retain in this world..

The one thing that struck me about this story, was learning that there is such a thing as the apostrophe society! I bet the meetings at apostrophe tower's are fascinating

Don't get me started on Toys 'R' Us...

latest news, Amazon's bought the apostrophe rights

At Blackwell's, we're in advanced discussions about pouring a crapload of commas into our name. "B,lac,k,well,s". I think it could catch on.

On QI Mr Fry said that this whole grocer's apostrophe thing has been going on for over a century. It's Mr. Daunt's company and if they take away the apostrophe it's quite different from taking away the quality of the merchandise that they sell. Controversy breeds publicity and there's no such thing as bad publicity. Over a decade ago the booksellers were agog at the idea of dumbing down, look at the affect that's had. It'll be the same for the apostrophe.
But I miss it.

Does the average person going in to buy a book really care or even notice whether or not there is an apostrophe?
In the current climate there are more important things for the media and the book industry to discuss.

Surely as the shop does not now belong to a [person] Waterstone , then Waterstones is simply a plural and therefore does not require an apostrophe ?

If Tim Waterstone had not founded Waterstone's, there would not be a company in place to change their logo! Where, grammatically, an apostrophe is required, it should remain.

Remember Eats, Shoots and Leaves? Or, more correctly (although not so much fun!), Eats shoots, and leaves.

I've been trying to get churches, including my own, former one, to insert an apostrophe, where it is called-for: e.g., St Giles' Church or, in full , the Church of St Giles.

Thank goodness for The Apostrophe Society. Long may you remain in existence!

It's about time everybody just forgot about Eats, Shoots and Leaves if you ask me. It was just a sorry excuse for people to smugly point out unimportant errors to people who don't have the luxury of such frivolous concerns.

more corerctly, it's "eats shoots and leaves".
The comma you put in still makes the "leaves" bit a verb.
(Oxford comma)
and it's St Giles's Church - you only miss the last s off a singular if there's already an s in the word(eg Jesus' or Moses')

Is "It's just plain wrong" gramatically correct?

By the way, there are two 'm's in 'grammar' and its derivatives...

Deck chairs and Titanic spring to mind.

...............and the band played on

The headline of this article calls them Waterstones'. Is there more than one Waterstone?

Not at all, it's the possessive form of the new singular "Waterstones". That is, the new logo of Waterstones.

Scratching head. There is a business now called Waterstones, and an individual (more than one probably) called Waterstone (Tim). The media was reacting to Waterstones' decision to drop the apostrophe.

Nobody goes to Marks's and Spencer's. Why shouldn't Waterstones drop the apostrophe if they want to? It's their damn apostrophe. If people get so upset about such a footling irrelevance as this, how on earth do they cope with earthquakes and tsunamis?

Surely the possessive is now "Waterstones's" just as in St. James's Park?

Whatever, it is a marvellous distraction from the fact that W is having a torrid time, and actually the high street is looking doomed and book sales through traditional tills are just slightly worrying for the industry!

An anagram of James Daunt: Adjust Name. A coincidence? I think not...

The apostrophe society is just trying to promote itself. Just because McDonald's spells it one way and Waterstones spells it another doesn't mean one is right and one is wrong. It's often the case that two approaches can both be right. One spelling is a possessive and one is a plural. Both are grammatically correct.

I do normally agree with the need to keep apostrophes, because it really irritates me, as an editor, to see them removed where the sense is clearly possessive. But that isn't the case with Waterstones.

I've commented on the importance of branding and why such a small thing as an apostrophe can be important in my post on the other discussion here. So I won't repeat it.

How dull. I hope Stephen Fry wades in. He'll sort it out. Waterstones can call itself what it wants. English is flexible, evolving and creative. Yet why don't we put the apostrophe back in just to please a few odd fellows and whilst doing that destroy these lower case i and e letters that appear in names. iPod? Dear God. How awful. Worst thing to happen. In fact, life isn't worth living. Where's the language gestapo when you need it. All that's wonderful about language, humans, communication, no no. Let's focus on an apostrophe. Let's make a debate out of nothing. Let's pick and choose our examples (MacDonald's) and ignore others (Marks and Spencers).

Or how about the name is now 'Waterstones'. Not named after Tim Waterstone - when did he last work for the company? 1988 or sometime just after? What about the fact most shops have names that have a mixed of uppercase, lowercase, colours and designs that are more about brand, image, and even creativity than kowtowing to language pedants.

And the Baskerville is back. That's great. A lovely typeface. Now, a call for positivity would be lost on the Bookseller and some of its more trollish comments. So yes, let's carry on being negative. Boo hiss at Waterstones. A bookshop chain. Full of thousands of individual booksellers. The last thing we'd like to retain in this world..

The one thing that struck me about this story, was learning that there is such a thing as the apostrophe society! I bet the meetings at apostrophe tower's are fascinating

Don't get me started on Toys 'R' Us...

latest news, Amazon's bought the apostrophe rights

At Blackwell's, we're in advanced discussions about pouring a crapload of commas into our name. "B,lac,k,well,s". I think it could catch on.

Tim Waterstone will never want to buy the company back now.

Has anyone noticed that most of our famous high street stores should have (but don't have) apostrophes in their names? How about Boots, Currys, Dixons, Morrisons and Starbucks(!) for starters. Has anyone also noticed that Tesco, although seeming to open a new store everyday, is still very singular by name (like St John ambulance)? Most people, including the main news channels, refer to the company as 'Tescos'. Sainsbury's I believe is in the minority nowadays. I can't see what all the fuss is about personally. BG

They've all lost their apostrophe over time as Mr Boot, Dixon, Morrison etc went from being a small company owned by one man to a multinational corporation owned by shareholders and therefore a brandname not a named after the owner.
Starbucks never had an apostrophe because it's always just been a brand name and nothing to do with the owners who owned it.
McDonald's haven't owned McDonald's for eons but the company choose to retain the apostrophe because American nostalgia denotes that the public love to use 'mom and pop' owned operations and so they wanted to keep the quaint connection/nostalgia. Like anyone would think that McDonald's are still a family owned operation lol.

And there ends my brief history of corporate branding and ownership. Good day.

I refer to it as "Tesco's" which is short for "the large supermarket belonging to the Tesco company".

I have heard the ASDA down the road referred to as "ASDA's"

This entire thing has a air of 'Pedants reunited' - or is that 'Pendant's reunited'? or 'Pedants' reunited'?

Frankly, while I probably should care, also knowing that very few people consistently understand the grocer's apostrophe, means in the grand scheme of things, of retail gloom, stuttering UK growth and the problems Amazon present, this is small change in a larger picture.

Next story please...

The Bat says: Jolly good riddance! The possessive apostrophe should be scrapped.

The English apostrophe is an awkward thing but it is still an established part of English punctuation (isn't it?). I suppose a bookseller need not use the possessive at all; it could drop both the 's' and the apostrophe. Perverse characters desire to possess or are 'possessive'. But John Lewis is probably our most successful retailer; perhaps in part because it keeps things like its name simple.

I have just noted "Kembles Head" in Covent Garden, and two apostrophes in "O'Neill's". Anarchy reigns in the naming of things.

There is no need for the 's' or the apostrophe.

I used to work behind the bar of 'The Kembles Head' (no apostrophe) when it was a pub. It's now a Greek restaurant.

This is a much surer sign the country is going to the dogs than a missing apostrophe.

Should they also drop the 'Water' and change it to 'Sinking' do you think?

I just feel embarrassed that I already knew about the Apostrophe Society and have had dealings with them when I got annoyed about our rebranded Princes Park and other street names. Now if I can find there really is a Pedants Reunited.... Or perhaps we should go straight to join that little group of people who meet up to speak only in Latin.

The Brompton Oratory?

Maybe if results are not up to expectations,we may get 'smiths'

Who Care's'?