The Grammar Belle

Spiffing y'all up, one typo at a time

Anybody know the number for Illinois’s governor?

Hey, y’all.

I am a big fan of D Magazine. As you might guess by its name and given my location, it features Dallas-area news, info, reviews, etc. Each year they hold the “Best of Big D” contest in which we all get to vote for our favorite salon, Tex-Mex restaurant, plastic surgeon, boot shop, and the like. (Did ya like my Dallas stereotyping there? I’ve always believed in making a joke outta myself before someone else makes a joke outta me . . . )

Anyway, each year I am bothered by the same dang thing regarding that contest. No, it’s not that Dr. Blackwell doesn’t always win “Best Chiropractor of Big D.” It’s this:



In ads all around my hometown and across my home state, folks make a mockery of basic punctuation rules. They tout “Dallas’ best taquería,” “Texas’ finest wine,” “Dallas’ largest gun show,” and “Texas’ longest bar.” AUUGH.

Here’s the deal: “Dallas” is not the plural of “Dalla.” So, since it’s NOT a plural word ending in “s,” it is NOT made possessive by simply adding an apostrophe to the end.

Y'all remember this lesson from first grade, right?

Y’all remember this lesson from first grade, right?

Yes, some folks may say that the “s” after the apostrophe is OPTIONAL and not needed if the resulting possessive word is difficult to pronounce. I’ll let that sink in a minute. Hard to pronounce? You try it. Not tough at all, is it? Not to mention, English has as many exceptions as it does rules. Let’s just stick to the rule here and we can quit confusing people, OK?

I’d like to appeal to all the Jameses out there to help me out. Make sure you label your stuff correctly for me (“This is James’s lunch.”) and that’ll be a good start. I’d also like to place a call to arms to my friends in Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Kansas. Y’all hop on board and help spread the word!

Perhaps I should put a request in to our new Holy Father, too.

I’d like to wish my sweet Jewish friends a blessed Passover and my Christian friends a lovely Holy Week.
I’ll be heading to Arkansas’s best small town for Easter weekend with my family. (See how I worked in this apostrophe lesson? It’s called modeling, y’all. Give it a try!)

15 comments on “Anybody know the number for Illinois’s governor?

  1. Jessica E.
    March 26, 2013

    I’m so glad you’ve simplified this rule. At one point, there was some crazy rule that if the word ended in “s” but sounded like a “z”, you did one thing…I don’t know, it was wacky. From now on, I’m sticking to this plan! Thanks, Grammar Belle!
    – the Edwardses

    • The Grammar Belle
      March 26, 2013

      It was wacky. Regularity is way better! 😉 I do so appreciate the Edwardses’ attention to detail.

  2. peggy
    March 26, 2013

    Ah, yes. It is one of Arkansas’s best cities, though the weather report says we’re all going to have a wet Easter weekend! If you get bored, come on further north — we’ll have plenty of vittles!

  3. outlawmama
    March 26, 2013

    I never get this one right. But I’d like to hear more about the boob jobs available in Dallas. Just kidding. (Not really.) Happy Holy Week!

  4. Yvonne
    March 26, 2013

    Great post, Brandy. I just had this discussion with DH (for whom I work). He had a possessive noun without the additional “s,” as in “Palisades’ barriers.” I told him it should be “Palisades’s barriers” since Palisades is the name of the organization. As his reports go to a government agency, I hoped that was right. (Although those agencies break lots of rules “because that’s the way they use that term.”) Can you tell the source of that quote?

  5. dr phil
    March 26, 2013

    In answer to your question: Illinois’s governor’s number is currently 20 to 45; the former governor’s number is 7 to 10 and the one before that 25 to 35; or something like that. Some how the governors keep ending up with free room and board at the taxpayers’ expense.

  6. ourmom
    March 26, 2013

    I am just excited to see another lesson. I was beginning to think you had given up on us and closed the school.

    • The Grammar Belle
      March 27, 2013

      I’ll never give up on y’all! As long as Facebook and reality TV exist, I have plenty of fodder for my blog. I’ve just been lazy lately . . .

  7. Corky
    April 10, 2013

    I did a substitute teaching assignment in a 4th grade classroom. Hand-made posters all around celebrated the lowly apostrophe and advised kids on how to use them to make possessives. These were the examples:
    1. Chris’ job
    2. The bus’ wheels
    I flipped the poster over during my stay in that classroom.

    It upset me so much that I suggested to administration that they might want to check how this particular standard is being taught in fourth grade. Oh, everyone knew this was wrong, but apparently it’s the way it’s expected on the big standardized test. Sigh.

    • The Grammar Belle
      April 11, 2013

      Seriously? That makes me nauseous. :/ I guess that makes my private-school-for-my-girls-induced poverty a little easier to take. Both of my girls have been diagramming sentences lately–the old-fashioned way! It warms this grammar fiend’s heart.

  8. Pingback: A Year of Grammar Goodies (With Bonus Pop Quiz) | The Grammar Belle

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2013 by in Don't Make Me Beg, Punctuation, Somebody Needs an Editor and tagged , , , .

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