Thursday, February 04, 2010

Music to Our...Eyes?

Megan C. sent along this photograph of a sign with a correct apostrophe. (Correct! How strange for us!)

This sign is for an association of musicians, plural. It is, therefore, a musicians' association. We press our hands together repeatedly to make applause! Bravo! Bravo!

(The reason there is no "s" after the apostrophe is that you don't pronounce that letter. It isn't musicians-ez association. When you do pronounce the letter, "the bus's wheels," then go ahead and use the "s." Or don't--plenty of style guides argue for the omission of the "s" when making plurals of words that end in "s." Just be consistent.)


Victoria said...

I love these posts. I always try to spot the error in the photograph before I read the accompanying text. This one had me quite puzzled because I thought the sign was correct. I'm surprised you could not hear the loud bray of laughter when I finally read the post! Thanks for sharing this rarity! ~ V

Martha Brockenbrough said...

Victoria, thank you for your nice comment! I'm glad you got a good laugh out of the post.

geneotto said...

Is it also permissible to say Musicians Association without the apostrophe?

Barry Leiba said...

Geneotto: that's arguable, but I'd argue against it.

We can say things like “German-American club” instead of “German-Americans’ club”. But in English, we use singular (or, sometimes, collective) nouns there, rather than plurals. We say “tool box”, not “tools box”.

So, if anything, I might go with “musician association”. But that seems sufficiently odd that I think they should stick with the plural-possessive.