Vertical Lettering

I’m having trouble posting pictures tonight, so I’m going to post about something I was thinking about yesterday.

I was walking down Union Park Street in the South End of Boston (better known as my dream address) and came across Aunt Sadie’s, a lovely little gift shop.

The sign had the letters listed vertically:

A
U
N
T

S
A
D
I
E
S

There was no apostrophe on the sign, though the apostrophe was used on every other occurence of the store’s name.

That got me thinking. How would it be appropriate to include an apostrophe on a vertical sign like this? I wonder if anyone has ever thought about this before.

There are three options:

  1. Use no apostrophe
  2. Put the apostrophe above the S and below the E
  3. Add the apostrophe to the right of the E

#2 sounds like it would make it look worse, and to strict grammarians, #1 is worst of all.

I think that #3 would be the way to go. If it were me, however, I would have made it a bit different than the other letters — maybe I’d make it a different font; maybe I’d put it at an angle. That’s just what I’d do for aesthetic reasons.

What do you think?

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11 responses to “Vertical Lettering

  1. I would add option 4, and put the apostrophe immediately to the left of the S:

    S
    A
    D
    I
    E
    'S

    Since “apostrophe S” is its own meaningful unit (morpheme?), I think it makes sense there.

  2. Yet another that works! Good point.

  3. “….a bit different than the other letters.” One “differs from …” One does not “differ than…” (confusing it with “other than”?)

  4. “occurence”? Ahem.

  5. Maybe it ran away with the hyphen that goes between well and placed in your blog masthead.

  6. “What do you think?”

    You want to know what I think? I think you REALLY REALLY REALLY need to get a fucking life, kate. And if you read this post and laugh it off as though it isn’t true, you are in some serious denial about yourself. If you seriously sit around thinking about how to put apostrophes in vertical signs, and you think this is a good and correct way to live, you honestly must be one of the saddest people on the face of this earth. seriously. just…STOP. for the sake of everyone’s sanity. Oh and by the way, way to plug YOURSELF on your stupid dorky NPR radio show. Appalling. Classless. Disgusting. That’s you!

  7. Whew, someone needs to go outside.

    I would have placed the apostrophe after the E, but I would have been so glad to see it placed in front of the S that I wouldn’t have given it further thought.
    I love this site, I’m a newcomer here, and I am glad someone’s pointing out this stuff.

  8. See, these are the very things I was bitching about in a post pertaining to the online-dating-book blog entry.

    For example, “correcting” stuff incorrectly; none of those solutions are any less wrong than the sign already is. Eric Jay’s suggestion made the most sense.

    Then, the introduction of errors in the rest of the blog. Sentences should not be started with a number symbol. (Now, granted, this is Kate’s blog, and she is free to determine a style that suits her needs. But so is Aunt Sadie.)

    Another thing: I thought the point of this blog was to cite errors on the parts of businesses that presumably have the resources to to enlist the help of an editor. Is Aunt Sadie one of those? (But, it does seem that this particular entry is a more of a “WWKD?” if this were her sign, so OK.)

    But that brings me to the artistic/creative/poetic license aspect. If you’re willing to cut the “commonsense” people some slack (and I am sure they are thanking their blessings for that as I type), why not Aunt Sadie? Maybe the sign looked like ass with the apostrophe… maybe Uncle Sadie likes to use his carpenter set and made the sign with his loving, if not apostrophe-savvy, own two hands?

  9. We just had this issue is some signage in a book we’re doing — we chose to let our artist leave out the apostrophes in the vertical signs for visual clarity and because it seemed like a trivial issue compared with the rest of the errors (like a backward accent over the e in cafe). It obviously still bugs me enough to comment about it here. The meaning is clear whether the apostrophe is added or not.

  10. What I think? I think the sign looks fine the way it is. It would look “silly” with the apostrophe. You said that on everything else, the name was correct?

    So, my question is, what is the big deal with the sign? It’s vertical. It’s fine.

  11. To the “anonymous” jack ass, you evidentally need to get a life if this blog is making you so angry that you have nothing better to do then say horrible things to people. And thanks Kate, I work for a printing company & we constantly have customers wanting us to put apostrophe’s on vertically printing words & no one knows where the appropiate place would be. But this helps.

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