Poop Sign to Punctuate

Let's imagine that this sign needs perfect punctuation, or dog owners will ignore it. How would you punctuate it?

Dog owner sign to punctuate

I would add four punctuation marks. What would you do? Please share your version in the comments section. I'll share mine tomorrow. 

Do your punctuation skills need a boost? Use this link to get $20 off my online self-study course Punctuation for Professionals. The coupon is good through May 1. 

Syntax Training 


  1. As the lucky owner of three dogs, this is a message that I see (and heed) frequently!

    I would like to think that the well-intentioned author of this sign probably knew (or at least suspected) that an apostrophe was indicated, but was thoroughly confused about where to put it (pet’s or pets’), so just left it out. I would punctuate it this way.

    Dog owners,

    Please scoop your pets’ poop.

    Thank you!

  2. Dog owners:

    Please, scoop your pets’ poop.

    Thank you!

    Since owners is plural, I would also make pets plural. Also, considering the reader, placing the emphasis on the thanks rather than on the poop may be more persuasive.

  3. Thanks, everyone, for submitting your versions. I loved reading them.

    I’m going to give the prize for originality to Nick, who seems to have written a poem and changed the meaning of the sign. He wrote:

    Dog owners!
    Please scoop!
    Your pets poop!

    In Nick’s version, “pets” is not possessive. It’s the noun in the second statement. Funny!

    My version is the same as Kelly’s, who wrote the first comment:

    Dog owners,
    Please scoop your pet’s poop.
    Thank you.

    As KathI, Paul, Lorelee, and Anita did, you could also make “pets” into a plural possessive:

    Please scoop your pets’ poop.

    It can go either way because some readers will have more than one dog (and the sign is to “Dog owners”–plural), and some will have just one.

    I like following the opening with a comma, which feels softer than the colon. However, the colon is also correct, just a bit more formal in feeling.

    Although I used a period at the end of the message, the exclamation point (“Thank you!”) is also correct. It’s very emphatic.

    Martha, K, and Anita used a comma after “please.” It’s not necessary, but it is fine to communicate emphasis.

    “Owners” doesn’t need to be capitalized, since “dog owner” isn’t an official title, but it seems fine on this informal sign.

    Thank you for participating in poop sign punctuation!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here