The Mayor's Apostrophe

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The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Bobinwales » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:33 pm

I came across a photograph of me taken in the Mayor's Parlour. There is of course only one mayor at a time, so the apostrophe is correct. But! The Mayor was only the latest in a long line of mayors, so should it have been the Mayors' Parlour? But! The Mayor is a role that is carried out by a succession of people, so there has only ever been The Mayor.

I give in!
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Phil White » Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:39 pm

Or, like the presidents of the United States, once a president, always a president. Once a mayor, always a mayor.

Unless, of course, the mayor is destined for greater things, cf the future King Boris. But maybe he will still continue to be mayor.

Unless, of course, Farridge beats him to monarchy...
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:05 am

Bob,

I think the answer depends on the purpose of the Mayor's Parlour. Is it:

a) A room that is intended to be used by the sitting mayor, either chiefly or exclusively? If so, then Mayor's Parlour seems appropriate.

Or is it:

b) Some kind of reception room that mostly displays mementos and portraits which commemorate all the mayors that have officiated in your town? If so, then Mayors' Parlour would be more suitable.

Or:

c) Does the answer lie somewhere between the other two possibilities? If so, fudging the issue by spelling it Mayors Parlour might be the most apropostrophic solution.
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Bobinwales » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:56 am

Much as it hurts me, I admit that no apostrophe at all is probably the correct course.
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:00 am

.. Bob do not weaken to the laziness of modern usage .. the lack of an apostrophe simply lets everybody know you have tapped-out .. I would've thought it would be the first of Erik's options .. invitations to the room originate with the current Mayor .. an ex-Mayor can't simply ask the boyos around for a few pints in the chamber because he used to hold that position ..

.. it is not unusual for such a room to have pics of the past and present uglies on the wall .. if it is meant, by the Council, to be a commemorative room then name it as such and move the apostrophe accordingly ..

.. the apostrophe WILL survive .. long live the floating squiggle ..

WoZ feeling ''''''''''''''''
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:15 am

".. the apostrophe WILL survive .. long live the floating squiggle .."

... Says the man who has arbitrarily forsaken the full stop and the initial capital in a sentence.

I have faith that Bob will do whatever needs to be done (or undone). I won't even ask him what it will be. :-)
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:34 am

.. forsooth thou hast caste me onst my own petard .. blown asunder by my chosen quirkiness .. I am unable to caste stones .. but a rolled boulder oft times does just as well .. handest me my crowbar that I mights roll the first rock ..

WoZ doing it as he sees fit
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by tony h » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:45 pm

Bobinwales wrote:Much as it hurts me, I admit that no apostrophe at all is probably the correct course.
It has taken me a while but I am going to disagree.

If you are to meet the Mayor in the parlour It would be only the current Mayor. To say that Belvoir Castle has been the home of the Dukes of Rutland for many generations does not allow for it to be the home of Dukes of Rutland. There can only be one at a time so it is the Duke of Rutland's home.
To me the default meaning is that it is a possessive of the current incumbent.

Maybe in the USA, where ex-presidents still retain the title in an address, could you have the presidents' bathroom.

This latter point begs the question: If an ex-president is a president does an ex-president actually exist?
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:22 am

Tony, I'd like to take up a couple of your points:

The reason that there is only one Duke of Rutland at a time is because that title is only passed on to his heir when he dies.

The same is not true of elected or appointed officials (unless they hold their office for life, which is thankfully an exceptional case). Therefore multiple former mayors could conceivably gather in one place at the same time, or a room could be dedicated to them or made available for their collective use. If this is the situation, it justifies the spelling "Mayors' Parlour".

A former president of the USA does not occupy the office of President. That job belongs exclusively to the incumbent president. The title of 'President' that is attached to the former presidents Clinton, Bush and Carter is purely honorific, in the same way that a retired college professor can still call themselves Professor X. But being allowed to use a title that is the legacy of one's former occupation is purely a formal social convention — it doesn't signify anything substantial. Accordingly, Clinton, Bushes 41 and 43 and Carter are substantively ex-presidents who are only borrowing the title of President because there exists a convention of politeness that allows for it.
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by tony h » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:56 am

Erik, thank you for the clarification of the use of President.

And, going over old ground, in England a position does not generate a title. So we get John Foster, Mayor of Grantham but not Mayor Foster. Although sometimes you hear someone refer to Prime Minister Cameron whereas it should be the Prime Minister, Mr Cameron or just Prime Minister as a form of address.

As such my position still holds for a place which has a Mayor there can only be one at any time.
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:00 am

Bob, what's the protocol in your town for addressing — and for referring to — its ex-mayors?
tony h wrote:... in England a position does not generate a title. So we get John Foster, Mayor of Grantham but not Mayor Foster. Although sometimes you hear someone refer to Prime Minister Cameron whereas it should be the Prime Minister, Mr Cameron or just Prime Minister as a form of address.
That doesn't always seem to apply. To take the most obvious example, nine times out of ten the average Briton refers to Queen Elizabeth as I just did, namely by both her title and her first name (sometimes prefaced by 'Her Majesty', depending on how formal the occasion is or the context and formality of the written medium in which she is being referred to).
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Phil White » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:11 pm

The "Mayoral Parlour" and be done with it.
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:32 pm

I dunno Phil. That seems too much like cheating.
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Phil White » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:39 pm

Being Wales, you could possibly get away with "room him bilong mistah mayor".
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Re: The Mayor's Apostrophe

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:45 am

.. hey Phil that's what we call our room >> Him stop along this fella humpy bilong boss fella numba wun ..

.. in Welsh it would be something like Llanfairgogogochpwllwyrnddllantysiliogwyngywllllgogerychrob .. meaning something like >> The meeting room in the big building in the high street near the church where the Mayor has a beer after holding a meeting with the elders of the village ..

WoZ in da room

PS .. sorry Bob in anticipation ..
Last edited by Wizard of Oz on Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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