Thursday, 29 September 2011

Close encounters of the pedantic kind

I really admire Leslie McGrath:

Throughout Smith's tenure as head of the Boys' and Girls' Division from 1912 to 1952 (during which time it was also known as the 'Boys and Girls Division', as the use of apostrophes in the Division's name varied over the years)'. 
Leslie McGrath, 'Reading With Blitheness: Anne of Green Gables in Toronto Public Library's Children's Collections', in Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables edited by Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2010) pp. 100-116: 102.
It's not exactly pedantry, because she doesn't claim that one version is 'right' and another 'wrong', but she does find the space to make the point, despite not making anything of it. That is one eagle-eyed woman. 

Is there a difference? Yes. Boys' and Girls' is possessive: the boys and girls possess the Division. Boys and Girls implies that said children are available from the division. Sale or return. No deposit required.

I'm sorry, am I boring you?

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