My brother and I are setting up a painting and decorating business and there's a small dispute to where our apostrophe goes. Initially, I thought "Sheppards' Painting and Decorating Company" would be correct showing that Sheppard is plural with the two of us. But other people are saying it's just Sheppard's because it's the family name? please, someone put us out of our misery for good.

Many thanks,

  • You're doing this in English. There's no way to not be miserable! – Hot Licks Apr 4 at 21:14
  • You may name your company as you please (subject to trading laws), but the apostrophe is often omitted. If you include it, some people will place it as you do, and some the other way — no matter which you choose. So I would call it "Sheppards." The famous Woolworth & Co. Ltd was known as Woolworths. – Weather Vane Apr 4 at 21:17
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    Is it the company of the Sheppard family, or the company of some members of the Sheppard family? – Hot Licks Apr 4 at 21:23
  • Hamleys toy shop was named after William Hamley. – Weather Vane Apr 4 at 21:23
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    Business signage is no notoriously bad at apostrophes, there's a whole term for it: the grocer's appostrophe. So no matter what you choose, expect everybody (perhaps including your employees) to get it wrong. – Blckknght Apr 4 at 22:05

I think the correct one would be Sheppards' .

Sheppard's will be a single person's. Sheppards' will mean a family's or "of people named Shappard each".

  • Agreed. What's more, the placing of the apostrophe will be a talking point for those who notice such things, and all publicity is good publicity. – Philip Wood Apr 4 at 22:35
  • Hi VF, welcome to EL&U. This isn't a bad start, but it's too short: the system has flagged it as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on EL&U is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. It's best if you edit your answer to provide more information - e.g., explain the grammar rule behind your choice of punctuation. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour. :-) – Reinstate Monica Apr 4 at 22:55

Firstly, it's your shingle. You two get to name it.

Secondly, you're correct. Two Sheppards own this business, so the plural possessive applies exactly as you thought.

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