What about the ‘s’?

When I first started talking with my mom about joining/taking over Taylor’d Communication, I knew my assumption of ownership would really be in name only, since she had already been phasing out her clients (and because I don’t live in the same city). But then the question became whether I would actually even fully take over the business name. Or, more accurately, whether I would take over the full business name.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t want the ‘s.’

Mom’s business name was Taylor’d Communications–originally, Custom Taylor’d Communications, actually–and I am of the mind that “communication” should not be pluralized in this context. So, I wanted to rename the business Taylor’d Old Taylor'd Comm logoCommunication. My mom didn’t say much about this subtle change. My dad thought the change was unnecessary and silly. My college communication professor would be thinking of a way to give me mucho extra credit points (never mind that I graduated 15 years ago…and that the professor has long been retired).

Of the tidbits of wisdom I gleaned from my Rockhurst University education (go Hawks!), Dr. Weslynn Martin’s insistence that the misuse of “communications” should be punishable by jail time was one lesson I think of often. As a professor of communication, Dr. Martin was a stickler about this issue, and, as a student of communication, I followed suit.

Indeed, there are conflicting schools of thought about whether the ‘s’ is appropriate when referring to the realms of public relations and marketing and the like. But, among topical experts, the prevailing opinion is that use of the ‘s’ in this context is inaccurate. The basic understanding about the distinction is this: “communication” refers to the method of conveying messages and “communications” refers to conduits and systems, such as telephone lines and internet cables. So, as much as I love to gab on the phone and play around on the internet, I am decidedly not a “communications” gal. I am, however, a “communication” gal.

To refer to this topic as ‘hotly debated’ may be a bit of an overstatement, but it’s certainly not something that everyone agrees on, even among those who are entrenched in the communication profession. Indeed, I know of several very reputable PR and mar/comm agencies, led by wonderfully capable executives, whose business names include “Communications.” And to each her own, of course.

But for me, I’m sticking with the non-‘s’ version in my business name. Mostly because I want my parents to feel like all that TaylordCommunicationmoney they shelled out for my undergraduate education resulted in at least one nugget of knowledge on which I stand firm. (Now, the issue of ending a sentence with a preposition is another topic entirely…)

What is your opinion about the ‘s’ vs. no ‘s’ issue?

[Giving extra credit where extra credit is due: Thank you to Dr. Pete Bicak, my college advisor and favorite Rockhurst professor, for refreshing my memory on Weslynn Martin’s name when I emailed him yesterday. Hey, a gal can’t be expected to always remember both the class lessons and the name of the person who taught it to her!]