There was, we are constrained to admit, an unfortunate level of hubris in one of our micro-editorials last Saturday, among our And Another Thing items.
In our "we're-all-bilingual-now" modern-anglo way, we scolded the Société des alcools du Québec for a sign in the window of a just-closed liquor store downtown. "Nous sommes déménagés," the sign said, and we rose like trout to the bait. "Every Quebecer knows or should know," we wrote scornfully, "that that should read 'nous avons déménagé.'"
We really should have seen this coming: our prideful excess of certainty dumped us flat on our face.
We have since been reminded by several letter-writers that déménager can take avoir or être, depending on the sense intended: avoir for the action, être for the result, as in this case.
Alain Bolduc, the SAQ's vice-president for public affairs, was impressively restrained in making that point in his letter, while citing no fewer than three authorities. "... Not easy that language," he concluded, "not always black or white, and full of nuances."
We apologize. And we would like to assure speakers of both languages that we have learned a lesson, and not only about one verb.
By the way, M. Bolduc, we can assure you that this episode will in no way reduce our consumption of the products of your stores. Rather the opposite, in fact.