Sunday, October 15, 2006

Grammar Interlude

I've lived in London for eight years, so I don't know why this has never vexed me before, but it suddenly started vexing me quite a lot yesterday as I was travelling towards Victoria on the District Line:

Why does Earl's Court tube station have a possessive apostrophe, but Barons Court doesn't?

Answers on a crumpled one-day Travelcard...

9 comments:

Tim Footman said...

Even odder, all other manifestations of the Earls Court brand identity (it's talk like a marketing fucknut day here in Bangkok) lack an apostrophe. It's just the station.

Do you reckon the sign was put up by a moonlighting greengrocer?

Kalista said...

Ah ha a Kalista question me thinks! Earl's court is possessive as it denotes erm possession- i.e it was a court owned by earls/a court populated by earls at one stage. Whereas Barons is a name and therefore needs no possessive apostrophe.

Kalista said...

I don't know if it's still there now but in Bakewell (where the tarts come from) there was a sign for Sheffield with three f's in it. So my previous comment could be bollocks. But I have only just got up

Anonymous said...

Kalista - why would the Earl own his court but the Baron wouldn't own his court?
Am I missing something?

Albert said...

And what was the Shepherd doing with the Bush?

Geoff said...

It's the 'court' that's spelt wrong.

They were old headlines:-

Earl's Caught

Barons Caught

They only caught one earl but several barons.

patroclus said...

Marquis's Son Unused to Wine.

It seems that Earls Court (without an apostrophe) is an actual place name, but that a rogue greengrocer did indeed add the apostrophe to the name of the tube station.

Barons Court, meanwhile, is apparently a completely made-up name that was given to the tube station when it was built, and has since become the name of that general area. Although some barons did live there once. Whether they were caught or not remains a mystery.

Mind you, this is only according to that fount of all accurate and true knowledge, the mighty Wikipedia. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who might know about such things, because it's that kind of Sunday afternoon.

Wyndham said...

Krapy rub snif

is Finsbury Park backwards. Don't all thank me at once.

SimonHolyHoses said...

Can non-royals own a court at all?