May 10th, 2013 .

No free dessert for me

Pat Morden

There’s a sign in front of a pizza restaurant in my small town that infuriates me every time I drive by. It reads: “Mother’s Day: Mom’s get free dessert.”

Okay, don’t even get me started about Mother’s Day. I think it’s mean that children are made to feel guilty about their mothers once a year. (Surely feeling guilty about your mother should be a 365 days-a-year thing?) And it drives me crazy that Father’s Day is a much more low-key event.

But at least the apostrophe is correct. If the day commemorates the concept of Mother, then it’s Mother’s Day. You could argue that the day commemorates all mothers, in which case Mothers’ Day would be more correct.

Of course, it’s the “Mom’s” that gets me. This is just another example of a pandemic of unnecessary apostrophes plaguing the developed world. I’m not sure where it will end — perhaps in some kind of grammatical Armageddon — but it won’t happen on my watch.

When an apostrophe appears before an “s” it usually indicates ownership, as in Pat’s book or Max’s mess. Occasionally it indicates a contraction, as in “it’s” or “you’re,” but that’s only with a very few combinations of pronouns and verbs. Apostrophes are not necessary when the ‘s’ is making a noun plural.

So no, I won’t be taking advantage of the free dessert: I’d choke on it.

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