Not “Happy Mothers’ Day. Not “Happy Mothers Day.”

May 10, 2009 at 11:17 am (By Amba)

As Sissy Willis (Sisu) pointed out on Twitter this morning, Mother’s Day was deliberately established with the apostrophe firmly between the R and the S.  It is to be celebrated one mother at a time. (Or as Anne Lamott would have it, bird by bird.)

This is a stunning vindication for the copy editors of the world.  PUNCTUATION MATTERS.  Not only is it a form of musical scoring or choreographic notation, telling your inner voice and your thought when to flow and where to pause; it is also a tiny lever moving worlds of meaning, a focusing device directing your attention precisely where it belongs.

On you, Mom.  This one’s for you:  my one mother, my fellow copy editor.  I love and honor you — not just today.

~ amba/Annie


  1. Sissy Willis said,

    A perfect gem of a one-of-a-kind Mother’s Day gift for your dear Mom. Some web site the other day suggested kids forget the flowers and write a poem to their mother. In your loving hands, prose is poetry.

  2. Sissy Willis said,

    And thanks for the lovely link! :-) I’m starting to get a good idea of what this twittering thing is all about.

  3. amba12 said,

    Yes, I would say you got it real quick! Sped ahead of some of us, in fact. :)

  4. Sissy Willis said,

    You’ve got me prose poeticizing: Like mother, like daughter, a pride of copycats?

  5. PatHMV said,

    You couldn’t have told me this BEFORE I printed the card for my mother today?

    (FYI, I was printing out a card, because I just ordered for her a small piece of furniture from our friend Sippican, and it won’t be in for about a month; I wanted to give her a picture to show what was on the way.)

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

    Annie, is there a Caretaker’s Day we can celebrate for you?

  6. Joan of Argghh! said,

    Whew! Glad I got it right. I did halt between two options but decided that it was, as pointed out, a day for each mom, individually.

    Learning Spanish has helped and hindered my grammar in a hundred ways.

  7. amba12 said,

    Pat: Every day is caretaker’s day. :-}

  8. amba12 said,

    Joan: I’ll bet in Spanish it’s “dia de los madres” (it takes so much longer to say things in Spanish!). But then, I’m inappropriately generalizing from “dia de los muertes.”

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