CAFE CONTROVERSY: An extra S on this sign has stirred up debate.
CAFE CONTROVERSY: An extra S on this sign has stirred up debate. Crystal Jones

Is this the most controversial cafe sign in Qld?

CONTROVERSY is brewing around a Bundaberg cafe's signage.

It's not pictures, placement or even content that has locals sending complaints to the owner, but humble old grammar.

Since At James's Place opened last September, owner James Lee says he has had to explain time and time again to local grammar police that his sign is not breaking laws.

The argument has arisen out of the placement of an extra S after the apostrophe, something which many are claiming is wrong, but Mr Lee says is right.

Which spelling of the word do you prefer?

This poll ended on 08 July 2017.

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"I'm Korean, and as a Korean, before I made this sign I had a lot of consultation about the sign because some people said it shouldn't have the S, just the apostrophe," Mr Lee said.

"After we put the sign up last year, I had many people talk about our signage.

"Sometimes they send messages to me through the Facebook page and it hasn't stopped."

Mr Lee said some people had even suggested he went as far as to make the sign with "incorrect grammar" to gain attention.


BOOM BURGER: James Lee with Bundy's biggest burger.
BOOM BURGER: James Lee with Bundy's biggest burger. Mike Knott BUN170117BURGER1

"The point is I didn't mean to make the wrong signage to gain attention or annoy you," he said.

"I want to tell the people of Bundaberg that this is the right grammar and modern grammar so you shouldn't feel annoyed driving past our premises."

The experts, it seems, somewhat agree with Mr Lee.

University of Sydney English professor John Frow says the spelling can go with or without the extra S, but explained the use of two Ss was preferable.

"I don't think there's any right answer to this," he said.

"American usage adds the extra S, British usage tends to omit it, and Australian usage switches between the two."

Mr Frow said he believed "James's" with the extra S was preferable because it leads to the word being written the way it's said, but noted that was his personal preference.

Mr Lee said he would be happy if people focused more on the café's food than the sign.

"At the end of the day, people remember us for the taste of our breakfasts, brunches, burgers and coffee so the sign doesn't really matter," he said.

"However, people who feel annoyed by the signage are welcome to come and try our food and I'm sure they won't worry about the sign anymore."

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