my grammar could hit the target from that distance

The revolution has begun. No longer will we put up with dodgy speeling, misplaced apostrophes' or improper; punctuation? P.S. pointing out bad grammar in postings is banned. To justify this I'm applying a form of grammatical 'absolute privilege', as the public interest in publishing mistakes far outweighs the cost to the public of making further mistakes. Call me a hypocrite if you will, but it works in Westminster.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A debate

My housemate says this doesn't need anything else because it's a name. Just to confirm, that is 100% WRONG isn't it? Does it belong to Spiller, or Spillers or is it a statement that he/she records things?

#9 My tshirt, Cardiff


At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That has annoyed me since my first year

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous John said...

Well Robbie, this is how I see it... Thom and I debated this last year. If you're talking about the Medics football team, we decided you can say 'The Medics coach said' with no apostrophe. Because you wouldn't need one if you said 'The Arsenal coach said'. So say it was HMV and the slogan was 'HMV Records', then you wouldn't need an apostrophe. So perhaps they can get away with it. It's debatable though.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

But surely "Arsenal's coach" would have an apostrophe, and isn't that closer to "Spillers Records", which I assume is named after a Spiller, rather than a Spillers? HMV doesn't really count because it's an acronym, and so adds big sticky layers of confusion. But I see your point; "Virgin Records" doesn't grate in the same way. The plot thickens. I still maintain that "Spillers Records" just doesn't look right. I suspect you and Thom are pushing for a liberal attitude towards this kind of thing. Over my dead bodie (arf arf).

At 5:00 AM, Anonymous John said...

Not at all. Bad grammar annoys me more than most things in life. I agree that Spillers Records seems to need an apostrophe on the surface, but a closer look does raise questions. A strange one.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Geordie said...

Like Finnegans Wake, which looks like it should have an apostrophe but doesn't. That night be a oun, though - something about the Finnegan family waking up - but I've not read it so I couldn't say.

It's written with an apostrophe in one of my Physics textbooks. I emailed the authors to point out their mistake. I can now legitimately claim to have found an error in a text on Particle Physics.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Perri said...

Surely it depends. If the records are owned by someone called Spiller, then it'd be Spiller's Records. If the records are owned by two people with the surname Spiller, then obviously it'd be Spillers' Records.

But if the word 'Spiller' isn't related to the owner, then surely it doesn't need one.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Jimbo said...


It doesn't need one, becuase it's a retail brand name.

It is "Spillers Records", and the name is to be taken holistically.

Compare "McDonald's" which is a stand alone name. The apostraphe serves to indicate that the brand doesn't exist in a vacuum, but is the puveyor of something.

(Aside: In fact, it means fuck all, since the company was actually started by one Ray Kroc.)

In this case, the records don't belong to anyone called Spiller. They are there for you to buy. Thus, the company is "Spillers Records": the two words can almost be seen as one, neuter, proper noun, albeit a conjunctive one.

(Aside: Again, Spillers was founded by Henry Spiller, taken over by his son Edward, and another chap whose name escapes me. If there is an apostraphe, and I am arguing strongly against the presence of such, it should be in the posterior position.)

Thus, Spillers (more than one) is (are) the owners of the shop. Records are what they purvey.

Think of it as a statement which says:

"Here is spillers [sic] and there are records here."

Rather than:

"Here is a place belonging to Spiller, and here are some records."


"Here are some records belonging to Spiller."

At 4:28 AM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

Thankyou Jim, your argument is convincing. Nonetheless, something still doesn't sit right with me that it can be a record shop belonging to Mr Spiller, yet it doesn't need an apostrophe.

Doesn't that create a get out clause for a whole host of appalling mistakes? "It's a retail brand name, guv, you can't touch me, I know my rights".

That's almost as bad as "I was just holding the apostrophe in that position for a friend, of course I know it doesn't belong there".

You can see my concern.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Jimbo said...

Sir, your concern looms large above me in exactly the same way that a carrier bag does not.

But let it trouble you no more; rather set it down, like so much luggage in the arms of a weary traveller upon reaching the airport terminal.

For it doesn't say "Spiller's Record Shop".

Merely Spillers Records.

But neither are they his records, that he covets and hoards, thrusting them in the faces of passers-by, only to whisk them away in a cruel and taunting fashion, cackling and jeering and capering about The Hayes.

The records exist in a possessive, and yes, perhaps even semantic, limbo - available to purchase but belonging to no man, until the legally binding financial transaction is played out, the records can go home with their rightful owners, and the circle of life is complete.


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