Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy People-(Mostly-Advertisers)-Call-It-Presidents/Presidents'/President's Day

Although as I wrote two years ago today is a federal holiday officially known as Washington's Birthday (and as others mention every February)*, it is more commonly known by the position he held. Efforts to include Abraham Lincoln (or even others who have occupied that office) have come to make the colloquial name reference "President" in some way.

However, because it's not an official name there is no standard for whether it should be called Presidents (no apostrophe) or Presidents' (apostrophe after the s) or President's (apostrophe before the s), and that results in a variety of ways it appears.

For this post I wanted to offer a bit of an update of this post from four years ago by showing shots from commercials that mention it, to see how advertisers appear to think of it.

Most automobile companies are having an "event" for the long weekend:
Honda - apostrophe after the s (of course, given how they're clearly featuring Honest Abe they really need to play up the plurality and possession)

Dodge - apostrophe after the s

Ford - apostrophe after the s

Toyota - apostrophe after the s

Kia - no apostrophe

Chevrolet - no apostrophe

And retailers have sales (although one is having an "event"):
La-Z-Boy - no apostrophe

Macy's - apostrophe after the s

Sears - apostrophe after the s

JCPenney - apostrophe after the s

Kohl's - apostrophe after the s

Guitar Center - no apostrophe

Local mattress retailer Sit 'n Sleep - no apostrophe... and no "Day" mentioned; apparently either they are selling chief executives or only to chief executives.

So from this not-scientifically selected sample it appears the apostrophe-before-the-s (singular possessive) has fallen from favor, and the apostrophe-after-the-s (plural possessive) has a bit more popularity over the no-apostrophe (plural only). Advertisers don't seem to want to attribute this to only one president, even though federally this day is about only one.

(My Simpsons calendar has been convinced of this name and identifies it as Presidents' Day, so that can be as definitive as one wishes it to be.)

The only clear conclusion we can draw: We are to be convinced that to not be out buying something today is un-American.

Enjoy the day off (if you are so lucky), regardless of what you call it.


* Of course, the actual anniversary of the birth of the Father of Our Nation's is the 22nd (but originally that was the 11th by the Julian calendar), for 43 years the observance of holidays has been on Mondays to make three-day weekends. Lincoln's birthday on the 12th does make the federal day off fall between the two dates, but that's not why it's not held closer to this coming Saturday... when federal employees generally have the day off already.

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