Waterstones or Waterstone’s? Technically, the bookshop is founded by Mr Waterstone, and therefore Waterstone’s is correct. (Also, note that if you write/say Waterstone’s too many times you start to sound really daft). Which is why there is just a touch of public outrage – if you hadn’t noticed – because Waterstone’s is now Waterstones. Yup – they dropped the apostrophe. The chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society (true story – the apostrophe really is an endangered species and has a society dedicated to saving it) announced:
“It’s just plain wrong. It’s grammatically incorrect. If Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s can get it right, then why can’t Waterstones. You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English.”
But Waterstones’ (I’m getting confused with apostrophes now) managing director, James Daunt, explains that there is a good reason to drop the apostrophe… and he blames it on the digital age. URLs and email addresses have all but erased the apostrophe from the digital world, and to remove it from the Waterstones name is simply a practical move. The outrage from the public came in the form of quips such as “wish I’d used that excuse in my spelling tests” and dramatic The End is Nigh for the Apostrophe statements.
What do you think about the apostrophe? (You can stop saying Waterstones now).