The Waterstone’s apostrophe and how small features can affect your business

Posted on February 1, 2012


Book chain Waterstone’s recently caused some controversy with its decision to omit the apostrophe from its name, with plans to change its branding to say, “Waterstones”. The company felt that the apostrophe-free version would be more conducive to its online activities; however, criticism from everyone from the Apostrophe Protection Society to Twitter users has shown that strong feelings can exist around seemingly minor features.

Apostrophes are notorious for causing difficulties, as witnessed by the existence of the Apostrophe Protection Society and numerous websites offering tips and quizzes to improve your understanding of the apostrophe. One of the most common mistakes regarding the apostrophe is to use it when forming a plural; for example, “CD’s” or “apple’s”.

Obviously, if you’re writing articles for your website, it’s important to pay attention to grammar and spelling and to make sure any small errors are corrected before your site can be viewed by the public. Article writing services have saved many a company from ridicule in this respect. However, as the Waterstone’s example shows, even decisions that are made consciously and for certain reasons can affect how a business is perceived.

Of course, for an established brand like Waterstone’s, the publicity is unlikely to do much more than keep the company in the news for a few weeks. For a new company, however, it’s worth spending time thinking about things like branding and presentation to make sure that logos, slogans and so on are going to strike the right note with your projected customers.


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