November 2013

You got me this time, GrandWest Casino. But I’m watching you :)

This weekend, after spotting one of their billboards featuring seemingly dubious grammar, I revisited a year-old conversation with GrandWest Casino to take them to task for their poor use of the basic building blocks of English.

This is the billboard:

Given their remarkably quick response to the Missing Apostrophe Fiasco, I expected to hear back from them with an explanation of what had gone wrong this time.

Two days later and they’ve just responded. Again they’ve impressed me with the time they’ve taken to respond to my little grammar grumbles. But unlike the last time, I’m the one left with the rosy cheeks. Because this time, I was wrong. And here’s why:

So that’s that. I was wrong. This time. You’ve evened the score GrandWest but that doesn’t mean I’m not still watching you. And those absconding apostrophes 😉

The same procedure as last year GrandWest?

Dear GrandWest Casino

Though we’ve had our issues in the past, I was confident that we had emerged from our journey together with a mutual respect for the English language.

I had moved on with my life, safe in the knowledge that your apostrophes had been reigned in for good. I even smiled with a knowing satisfaction when the rest of the world noticed our little tête-à-tête, thinking fondly of our time together as a bygone era of innocence, where good grammar had triumphed over mischievous apostrophes once and for all.

You’ll understand then why I almost catapulted my car through the railings on the side of the freeway one morning this week, as I entered a suspended state of disbelief after spotting one of your latest billboards. I present to you Exhibit A:

Even as I write this, I need to inhale deeply to summon up the strength to explain why this somewhat amusing headline has unfortunately been sabotaged by poor grammar.

The problem here is with the word “grannies”. In its current form, it is simply the plural of the word ‘granny’ and therefore makes no sense in the context of the headline. Without the correct form of the word (being singular), and without an apostrophe to indicate possession, this sentence makes as much sense as “Tea at carrots.” Here’s why:

To start with, there is an implied part of the sentence that does not appear on the billboard – not that it needs to. The full form of the sentence (had ellipsis not been used here) would be: “Tea at granny’s place”. Of course ‘place’ could be ‘home’ or ‘house’ or any other location owned by ‘granny’.

Ellipsis is commonplace in such an instance (another example would be “We’re all going over to Bob’s for a drink”), and there’s nothing wrong with leaving out the word ‘place’. However, you still need to retain the possessive form of ‘granny’ to maintain the grammatical accuracy of the sentence.

If you intended to communicate that there was more than one granny’s place at which tea was taking place (which would make no sense, given the use of this sentence in English to indicate teatime spent at YOUR granny’s place) then the word ‘grannies’ should have an apostrophe after the word to indicate possession of all of their places, or of a shared place owned by them all.

I would like to suggest that you move forward with disciplinary proceedings against your errant apostrophes as soon as possible, and demand that they perform their contractual obligations without delay.

Please keep me appraised of the situation as it progresses.

Until next time