My delightful, small-town walk in the snow yesterday involved a stop at the Peppermill restaurant for breakfast.  (Some places, it’s “The Pepper Mill,” and other times, it’s one of the Peppermill family of restaurants.  But the spelling difference is not the topic for today.  The extraneous apostrophe is.)  See the apostrophe there?

If they’d wanted to say “This is one the Pepper Mill Family Restaurant’s most popular menu items” or something else that involved linguistic possession, the apostrophe would have been  properly placed.  However, a simple plural in English does not take an apostrophe.

Does not, does not, does not!

(There.  Childish-styled rant complete.)

Churches that opt to have official leaders should have pluralities of them.

(There.  Adult, studied criticism [no rant at all] complete.)

Every time you see misbegotten signs like the one above and the one below, think of the reality that is the plural.  The plural is formed with an “s” or an “es” if the word ends in an “s” or “z,” but not with an apostrophe.   No ifs, ands, or buts.  (That’s right–it’s NOT “if’s” with an apostrophe.  The editor-demagogues disagree on the plurals of numerals, but I still prefer them sans apostrophe, too–e.g., the stupidity of the 1960s.)  More important than punctuation, though, of course, is the functional life of a group of God’s people.  Maybe incorrectly formed plural words will also remind you of the more appropriate pluralities — yea, mutualities — that should exist in the spheres of church leadership and influence.



5 thoughts on “Plurals

  1. Rachel 02/13/2012 / 10:26 am

    As for pluralities of church leaders, we once went to a church in Blacksburg (I was pretty young at the time…) that was run by 9 equal “pastor-elders.” The entire church was volunteer based. (I’m not sure if that part is actually true anymore.) This kept any one person from having a monopoly of “power” and put “tithes & offerings” to better use (though they didn’t “pass the plate,” either – another good quality). I like the many equal “pastors,” as it leads to diversity in angle/opinion/bias and keeps everyone in leadership roles accountable.


    • Brian Casey 02/25/2012 / 10:09 am

      It’s always encouraging to hear of churches that follow a more biblical model than an institutional, traditional one!

      I also like that you have “power” in quotes, but I have to wonder whether power a) didn’t exist in any real measure, or b) actually resided in something of an oligarchy. The former would be the better option, of course! Although I’d choose an oligarchy over even a benevolent monarchy any day of the “church year.” 🙂 Even the idea of being “volunteer-based” and avoiding monopoly sets that Blacksburg church high above most others I’ve known of personally. Oh, wait — “high above” implies power, doesn’t it? 🙂


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