or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Try To Keep Up

Wouldn't you think The Telegraph in London would be one of those high-end newspapers with a stylebook and copy editors and things like that?

Here's a headline from today:

'Bridget Jones's' do the most unpaid overtime

What that's supposed to mean is that single women without children end up taking up the slack at work from people who leave early or on time to take care of their children. But "Jones's" is wrong.

I was willing to give The Telegraph the benefit of the doubt, thinking that maybe, just maybe, the standards for plurals of words ending in "-s" are different in Britain than they are in North America. But no:

Mr and Mrs Jones = The Joneses

The house of Mr Jones = Mr Jones’(s) house

The house of Mr and Mrs Jones = The Joneses’ house

‘Keeping up’ with the practices or possessions of Mr and Mrs Jones = Keeping up with the Joneses

I could have written that, but I didn't (though I've written about it); it was from a letter written to the British Journal of Anaesthesia about an incorrect headline of theirs.

So now we know two things: first, the standards for pluralizing a word ending in "-s" is the same in Britain as it is in North America, and even respectable, or at least theoretically edited, publications still, somehow, get this wrong from time to time.


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