Monday, April 30, 2007

Apostrophe Catastrophe

While we're on the subject of poorly punctuated song titles, the most difficult title to properly punctuate is Annie Lennox's semihit from 1995, on her album Medusa. styles it No More "I Love You's" in its track listing, but "No More I Love You's" in its text. cops out similarly, calling it No More "I Love You's" in its track listing, but dropping that first quotation mark in the album review, opting for "No More I Love You's."

Now, clearly, you can't just drop a quotation mark in the middle of a song title just because you decided to put the whole thing into quotes. That's cheating. A reference to this song in the middle of prose should be styled "No More 'I Love You's,' " if we can trust the track-listing version to be right.

But it's not. Annie isn't promising not to say "I love you's," unless she's from the Bronx, which she isn't. She's promising that she will no longer say "I love you," singular. So ideally, what we should have here is "No More 'I Love You' 's," I think. A double apostrophe!

I still don't really know what the original style is, since I don't have this album. If anyone out there does have a copy and can tell me how Annie herself punctuates the title, please send it in. But I do know the song's not even that good, certainly not worth all these grammatical gymnastics.

1 comment:

MJN said...

I don't have this album either, so I can't help you there, but this is how I would do it. Start with the phrase I Love You. Put it in quotes, because it's a direct quote from Annie Lennox. Make it plural by adding an "s" (not an apostrophe-s; the apostrophe is not needed). Insert the modifier No More at the beginning. Put the whole thing in quotes, because it's a song title. That changes the double quotes around I Love You to single quotes. The end result: "No More 'I Love You's".

If this is wrong, may Kate Turabian strike me down.