Grammar Tip – Possession With Two names

BizWritingTip reader: “When vacationing in Mexico last week, I went to a restaurant called Carlos’n Charlie’s. Is the name grammatically correct? I don’t think you need two apostrophes.”

BizWritingTip response: An establishment has the right to call itself anything it wishes. However, you are right. Carlos and Charlie’s would be the grammatically correct way to name this well-known bar and restaurant.

When indicating joint ownership, you place the apostrophe only on the final name. If you wrote Carlos’ and Charlie’s, it would indicate that the gentlemen had separate establishments.

However, Carlos and Charlie’s looks rather staid and doesn’t reflect the informal atmosphere of the place. They, therefore, used an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter to abbreviate the word “and.” (’n is very casual short hand. Please don’t use it in business writing.)

Carlos ‘n Charlie’s

I then assume their designer got a little carried away and adjusted the spacing so the apostrophe looks like it belongs to Carlos rather than the “and.”

Carlos’n Charlie’s

Not grammatically correct. But it has zing.

By the way, when you are enjoying the warmth of Mexico, “let it go.” Have another margarita. Don’t worry about grammar. And invite me along next time.