Has I Got A Post For You...

Let’s unpack this image, shall we?

First, is it possible that the owners of this store have named it “Rumors” and the rest of the phrase is meant to convey that the store, “Rumors,” has everything you need for a wedding? You know:

Need a bridesmaid dress?

Rumors has it!

Want a huge selection of tiaras?

Rumors has it!

This is tough for me because I’m not always a fan of grammar. I often find the rules of grammar to be confining in terms of conveying my own creative or emotional vision, and I also don’t like the idea that there are people out there who hesitate to write down their own fascinating stories because they’re embarrassed to be caught out in a grammatical gaffe.

But I can’t help but feel that this sign gives a poor first impression to potential customers. I mean, brides aren’t going to be on board with stretching the rules of grammar when it comes to their engagement announcements or wedding invitations:

“Mr. and Mrs. Basil T. Higgenbottom is thrill to announcing the engagement of her daughters, Margaret, who are expect will be marry in June.”

Now, I like this. I think it’s poetic and raw. But if I ran a business, I would have to acknowledge that it’s not for most.

It’s a classic case of “know your audience.” Students ask me all the time why grammar is important, and many suggest that in this day and age of tweeting and instant messaging, grammar might actually be irrelevant. But the thing is, a storefront is not in the twitterverse. That sign is a real, actual message on the face of a business that speaks to a much different audience than does a tweet. People will make assumptions about these business owners - right or wrong - based on the image put forth by that sign. So, if correct use of grammar is important to your business, the correct use of grammar on the sign should communicate that value. See? Not a tweet.

All of this makes me wonder what was going on before the sign went up. I mean, aren’t there stacks of forms to fill out when you want to open a business? Wouldn’t these forms include the name of the business, right at the top of the paperwork? Wouldn’t these forms be seen by city workers, lawyers, bankers, etc? Am I to believe that the grammatical error in the name of the business never, ever came up? With anyone?

Maybe it did...

County Clerk: I think you might want to tweak the name of your business here, just a little. I’m pretty sure that the phrase you’re looking for is “rumor has it.”

Entrepreneur: No, I think it’s right the way it is.

County Clerk: Um, I’m pretty sure it’s not.

Entrepreneur: I’m pretty sure it is.

County Clerk: Okay. You has the final say.

I also wonder if this topic ever comes up with patrons of the shop. I myself thought of going in and just mentioning - you know, in passing - that the name of their establishment is a grammatical nightmare that makes a mockery of the English language.

But I didn’t because I was worried about coming off as dickish.

So instead I went with a blog post gently poking fun of their sign.

Which isn’t dickish at all.

More like passive-aggressive.

Although it occurs to me that it’s still not too late to be both...


  1. Patrick Slattery would be proud of you.

    This sign would KILL me. I would have to go in and ask why it's with the -s. Who knows, maybe the sign guys messed up and they can't afford to have it fixed. Yeah, probably not.

    Even if they had it right, I don't know if I want to buy my special occasion dress at a place that implies there will be talking behind my back.

  2. I think there's a possibility the owner thinks "Rumors Has It" is a fun play on words. In other words, "My store has it."

    Maybe I'm stretching it here, but I'm holding out on the possibility the person is not grammer-challenged. Odd sense of humor?

  3. Rumored to be marrying, maybe if the rumor has it?

    Shakey ground for pending nuptials.

    Regardless of grammer.

  4. I saw the sign before I read what you wrote, and I confess that I thought: "Rumors" is the name of the store, and the sign is essentially saying: our store has it. But it may be that they have misremembered the saying and that the sign should be redone. If I lived nearby, I'd ask the owner what she was thinking.

  5. I thought the same as Dave and Anonymous. I also thought it was a tongue twisting play on words. For a recovering and notorious lisper such as myself, this was a tough "s" to swallow. Nevertheless, a clever post and gentle poking is always fun to read.

  6. The name of this establishment might be the owner of the store’s attempt to be clever with language, it’s true. That’s what I meant to imply at the beginning of my post - that perhaps “Rumors” is a proper noun in the singular form, rather than the plural form of the noun “rumor.” Glaven.

    A few of you made the observation that customers might not want to patronize a wedding store that affiliates itself with the word “rumors” to begin with - a very good point about audience, which also speaks to the larger point I was trying to make. If a significant percentage of the audience / clientele for this store might mistake the owner’s attempt at wit for a grammatical tragedy, that’s a problem. It’s even more of a problem if good grammar is important to your trade.

    Then there’s the possibility that the owner intentionally gave the store a name that would confound people, and spark conversation and debate. Get people to come in the front door. Ask some questions. Buy a tiara or two. Maybe such a strange name might even prompt some local to write a blog post about the shop. I don’t know who the owner of this store is, but I applaud their cleverness if that’s the case.

    Touché, Rumors Has It!