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Plaque for family home

I’m having a custom item made to indicate when our home was established.  The year will be the year my husband and I were married and started our family.  My issue is I’m not sure how our name should appear.  Here is the text.


Est. 2008

Our last name is Myers.  Please help!  I’m not sure if it should be possessive (ownership of the home/family) or plural (for the people).

  • June 24, 2014
  • Posted by Krista
  • Filed in Misc

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Hi - this seems a particularly North American custom and as a Brit I probably shouldn't be commenting, but the answer to your question can easily be found by searching for "family plaque established" at Google Images.

It would seem that in this sort of plaque (with est. + date) the word 'family' is usually added to the surname, so "The Myers Family" would be standard. But if you don't want "family", just use the plural - "The Myers" or possibly "The Myerses" (whichever you usually use) - one website suggests that we don't add -es to names where the final s sounds like z, but in Britain we talk about 'keeping up with the Joneses', so I'm not convinced by that one. On the other hand, Myers does indeed seem to be the most common plural form - Googling "life with the Myers" gets eleven hits, "life with the Myerses" - three. And there are a few blogs (well, three) which include "life with the Myers" in their titles.

But what seems clear is that a possessive apostrophe isn't used in this case: you are talking of your family as an entity, not as possessing anything.

Google oddities again - when I Googled "life with the Myers", it showed 1,190,000 hits, but then I noticed there were only two pages, and 1,190,000 turned out to be 11!

Warsaw Will June 25, 2014 @ 4:51PM

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As a North American I concur with Warsaw Will's response. I also have to admit that sadly in this country one often sees signs, usually for seasonal residences (cottages, camps, cabins), indicating that "The Smith's" or "The Adams'" abide there. I've never understood this misplaced affection for the apostrophe.

providencejim August 17, 2014 @ 12:35AM

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I was the recipient of such a plaque, years ago. It was lovingly handcrafted by a relative, and proudly offered up our family name with the apostrophe. It now adorns the entrance from our garage, where no one except family goes. I agree with providencejim; we North Americans do seem to love our apostrophes and commas, never mind if they're wrong.

vwmoll November 28, 2014 @ 6:57AM

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Marking plurals of nouns ending in vowels,especially of foreign origin was, of course, one of the original functions of the apostrophe:

'Comma's and points they set exactly right' - Alexander Pope, approvingly quoted by Dr Johnson

And from the Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language:

'There was formerly a respectable tradition (17c - 19c) of using the apostrophe for noun plurals, especially in loanwords ending in a vowel (as in We doe confess Errata's, Leonard Lichfield, 1641, and Comma's are used, Phillip Luckcombe, 1771)'

Moreover, possessives without apostrophes were common in seventeenth century books:

'A word to Londons Provinciall assembly', Nehemia Cent, 1650
'For fear (I think) the Kings affaires should thrive too well', A Vindication of King Charles, Edward Symmons, 1648

The greengrocer's apostrophe is as old as the hills, and I'm happy to say, just as resilient in British English as in American English. It was really only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that apostrophe's current functions became established.

Warsaw Will November 29, 2014 @ 5:27PM

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