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The Apostrophes of Canada
Thursday, August 21, 2008   11:24 AM

It seems like these days everyone is talking about the semicolon (it's so hot right now!), but I think John McIntyre summed up the situation nicely:

I wonder at the writers who carp and cavil about the semicolon, finding it unpleasant, artificial or even ugly, when it is the apostrophe that is the source of most of the trouble in English punctuation — inept plurals, bungled possessives, nasty little hooks in the wrong place all over the landscape

It should come as no surprise that Canadians have all the usual issues with the apostrophe, though I have to give them some props for their invention of the Canostrophe.

(original pic here)

These were everywhere as soon as we crossed the border. Here's one on an Arby's sign. I could've sworn that I saw one on a McDonald's somewhere, but the Internet is skeptical.

Fact: in a perfect world the Canostrophe wouldn't be restricted to signage, and MS Word would autocorrect regular apostrophes for users in Canada.

Apostrophes were notably absent on all signage for the ubiquitous Tim Hortons, birthplace of the repeater double-double, a Canadian term for "coffee with two creams and two sugars."

There are theories that the lost punctuation in Tim Hortons has something to do with Quebec's language laws, but then why does this McDonald's in Montreal get to have apostrophes?

(original pic here)

From the moment I saw this McDonald's, the apostrophe placement in that vertical sign really bugged me...

More on Quebec's crazy language laws in a future post.

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I don't remember a Canostrophe on McDonald's signage, but they do have a small red maple leaf down around the middle of the arches.

And the placement of that apostrophe in the vertical sign really does look odd, but I'm not sure it'd look any better before the d instead.

I think on vertical signage, you lose all punctuation (apostrophes, hyphens).

I love the semicolon! And I'm w/ John McI--the apostrophe looks uglier and gets used wrong more often.

I've never understood animosity toward the semicolon. I've seen it overused, but I don't understand why its existence anywhere draws such condemnation.

I don't know what you's guy's are talking about! What's up with these here grammar rule's anyhow? Here, in BC, we use'd our language good. We's not a bunch of Canucknucklehead's you now! Eh!!!

Laurel Ennis; Copywriter S'urrey BC

Tim Hortons is like Barclays: lots of companies have dropped their apostrophe.

But the apostrophe is just a spelling convention*. The semicolon is genuine punctuation.

*which is not to say that it's not incredibly useful. I only mean that I can't get wrathful at bad spellers.

Canostrophe? OMG. Excuse me if I'm late to the party on that term but it's hilarious.

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