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October 03, 2017


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Business Writing Blog

I received a message from Adam through LinkedIn. Here are his two concerns, which I quote:

1. What's your reference for St. Andrew's?
This may be named after the town of St Andrews in Scotland, which (incorrectly) omits the apostrophe in its own name, but the sign would be correctly imitating the error of the proper name.

2. In 7 and 8, what's your reference for Buffalo Bill's being correct?
This is likely a reference to the American football team of the Buffalo Bills, which were named after Buffalo Bill Cody. Since there was a whole team instead of just one man, it became the "Bills." Therefore, "Buffalo Bills" could be an acceptable spelling for an establishment, depending on the meaning.

Good questions to think about, Adam. Thanks for them.

1. I can't find anything quickly online that explains a historical reference in the name choice of St. Andrews House, which is a condo complex. I'd look to the true origin: Since his name was St. Andrew, the possessive form would be St. Andrew's.

2. I don't see any team references in the Buffalo Bill's online photos. Rather, the historical figure "Buffalo Bill" appears as their inspiration. It's the inconsistent rendering that bothers me most. Compare these two images:

I appreciate the way you think, Adam. Thanks for the questions.



Thank you, Lynn, for an entertaining way to test ourselves on using apostrophes. It drives me insane to read various publications, both professional and "home-grown," where the apostrophe is used incorrectly. I always learn something from your newsletter and appreciate the resources you offer to those of us who want to be great at the punctuation game!

Business Writing Blog

My pleasure, Amy! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.


Jessica Grosman

Hi Lynn, I am a big fan of your blog. Just to add a little more to the discussion about the apostrophe s. Davids Tea started in Montreal. Our province has a controversial story with the apostrophe "s". In Quebec, there are regulations about company names, signage etc. In the 1980s a large department store, Eaton's, was compelled to drop the 's becoming Eaton. Davids Tea's creativity may have been shaped by this history and current regulations.

Business Writing Blog

Jessica, thanks so much for that bit of history. Interesting!


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