Pedant’s unite!

6 12 2010

On the way to work this morning I walked past a church called St Paul’s, which was advertising a talent show they are running. The poster read as follows:

We warmly invite you to:
‘St Paul’s got Talent’!

The pedant in me wondered how they were going to pull off an event where the only display of talent came from a long-deceased Apostle?! But then I started to wonder where the apostrophe ought to have gone?! The Church is named after St Paul, so there ought to be an apostrophe between the L and S, but how do you then go on to express that you are condensing the sentence ‘St Paul’s has got talent’?

I have been bothered by this all morning, and so hope there are other pedants out there who can provide me with the answer… Then I can take my sharpie and correct it on the way home.

p.s. – The title is ironic…

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9 responses

6 12 2010
newsong40

Oddly, the American formulation is useful here – ‘St. Paul’s has talent’. Sadly doesn’t make such a clear reference to the popular reality TV show, but keeps your tension level under control. Do take your Sharpie and insert the full stop after ‘St’ though, to indicate that it is an abbreviation…
Jennie

6 12 2010
Sam

I suppose technically it should be ‘St. Paul’s’ got talent’ – but I have never come across such a formulation and it may be wrong.

6 12 2010
liamthatcher

They were both options I considered – but rejected for the same reasons you mentioned: not making a clear reference to the show, and unconventional use of the double apostrophe.

Hmm… good point about the full stop. To be fair to my Christian brothers I can’t remember if they had a full stop in there or not. Will have to check that (and amend if necessary!) on my way home.

6 12 2010
John

Considering it’s the title of the show the got should have a capital G. And I would say that the ‘ is in the right place due to the fact that it’s a talent show run by the church, therefore ownership means that the ‘ is in the right place

6 12 2010
Lex

You might suggest that they stick to their original but add a phrase to make the whole thing more biblical: ‘St. Paul’s got talent, but even he considered it rubbish!’

6 12 2010
liamthatcher

Ha! Brilliant!

6 12 2010
gareth mcnab

In American usage, the apostrophe in a place name is commonly dropped, with “Martha’s Vineyard” apparently one of only five contraventions to the rule. If we follow this thinking, then St Paul’s becomes St Pauls, but that still doesn’t answer the question!!!

Sorry!

6 12 2010
liamthatcher

Hmm… If only my conscience would allow me to trust American convention as an authority, I could get away with far more heinous crimes against grammar!

6 12 2010
Mark Heath

you could try asking at http://english.stackexchange.com/

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