ChanteSez … Joint ownership works

‘Tis the season for parties and get-togethers, often thrown by lovely couples, friendly neighbors and office departments.

So how do you indicate that multiple people are throwing a party? Or in other words, how do you show that two people own something together (and not individually)?

You treat the parties throwing the party as a single unit. That means using a single possessive apostrophe before the last person’s name.

Here are some examples:

  • I had such a good time and Kim and Duane’s annual Ugly Christmas Sweater and Cookie Swap Party!
  • I wish that I’d been given a heads up about Jon and Lilly’s party so that I had time to buy a gift for the hosts.
  • The Editorial and Layout departments’ party is happening next week.

Remember, this rule applies for any situation where two or more people “own” something together.

  • The trip is to visit his mother and uncle’s house.
  • The socks are Keith and Kweli’s.
  • The apartment is Wes, Nick and Robert’s.

ChanteSez … Sometimes less is more

Sometimes less is more. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I’m crafting my Christmas shopping list this year! It’s easy to get carried away when I think about how much I love my family and friends. Getting them gifts is a way to acknowledge how much they mean to me, right? Well, I may just have to show them more in terms of my time and love instead!

On to today’s tip.

Use “fewer” when referencing things — as in individual items — you can actually count. Think about things you can pick up and hold in your hand. If you can “view” it, use “few” (as in “fewer”).

  • The house needs tidying. She needs fewer knickknacks.
  • He should smoke fewer cigarettes.

Use “less” when referencing uncountable amounts, intangibles, or items that can’t be individually counted.

  • In less than three weeks, he’d made significant progress.
  • You’ll need less tape to wrap the gift properly.
  • I’ll have one less habit going into 2013. (I suppose you could count a person’s habits, but generally that’s an uncountable thing.)

ChanteSez … Don’t forget your brand

Tuesday is my neighborhood trash pick-up day. I forgot to move my bin to the curb. … I almost forgot to post today’s ChanteSez Tip of the Day, too.

So, speaking of trash, did you know there’s a difference between “trash bin” and “Dumpster”? That difference is trademark.

Dumpster is capitalized since it is a trademarked brand.┬áThe rule is to use the trademarked brand only if it’s essential to your story, or if you’re aiming to add a detail that gives color to your piece. Otherwise, try to use a generic alternative.

Here are a few others:

  • AstroTurf
  • Velcro
  • Thermos (if you’re referring to the particular brand name)
  • Clorox
  • Jet Ski