Why Martin Lewis’ is correct grammar!

It staggers me quite how many grammar fiends take the time to e-mail about the apostrophe in ‘Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert.com’ in the site logo, arguing it should be ‘Martin Lewis’s’.

So it’s time to blog on it, so we can simply link here every time we get a complaint. While you may not agree, at least it shows we’ve thought about it.

MSE Judy’s grammar masterclass

My own spelling and grammar leave a lot to be desired – one of the reasons I originally chose to be a broadcast rather than a print journalist. So to take this further, I’m handing over to MSE Judy, a confirmed member of the Eats, Shoots and Leaves brigade, to go through the grammar issues:

“It’s grammar purists who would say technically our logo is incorrect, and this method is only acceptable for classical names, such as Niklas. But language evolves, and many now tend to ignore the ‘s’ after the apostrophe.

“Check out Wikipedia’s take on best practice:

If a singular noun ends with an /s/ or a /z/ sound (spelled with -s, -se, -z, -ce, for example), practice varies as to whether to add ‘s or the apostrophe alone. A widely accepted practice is to follow whichever spoken form is judged better: the boss’s shoes, Mrs Jones’ hat (or Mrs Jones’s hat, if that spoken form is preferred). In many cases, both spoken and written forms differ between writers.

The Times Guide to English Style and Usage (1999) also says:

Beware of organisations that have apostrophe variation as their house style, e.g., St Thomas’ Hospital, where we must respect their whim.

“And while you could argue that even on pronunciation it’s wrong, far more important is that the extra ‘s’ looks hideous in the logo, and with language being fluid, both arguments are quite strong.”

Self-definition is crucial

As Judy rightly says, the logo does look awful with the extra ‘s’, and that’s a key reason for not doing it. And ultimately following the guidance above, it is right because it is our house style – just ask eBay, iTunes or npower.

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