The grocers' apostrophe, also known as the greengrocers' apostrophe, is defined by WordSpy as "An apostrophe erroneously inserted before the final 's' in the plural form of a word. Also: greengrocer's apostrophe."
Of course it is not just grocers that have a habit of putting apostrophes where they shouldn't be, examples of this erroneous behavior can also be found at restaurants, hardware stores, gas stations and pretty much anywhere there is a sign.
What I find humorous is that no one seems to agree on where the apostrophe should go in the word "grocer(')s(') apostrophe."
where the apostrophe should go in the word "grocer(')s(') apostrophe."
This is my public punctuation pet peeve, but I had never heard of this name for it. I will definitely share with my students!
Why does tomato have an "e" with plural and potato doesn't?
Language is a trip, isn't it? When I think of the origins, it completely boggles my mind.
Actually, the plural of potato should be potatoes. I think the cartoonist was just playing with different variations of incorrect apostrophe use.
I think the cartoonist is demonstrating the completely random nature of apostrophe use by those who don't understand it - "Chip's and Peas" and "Beer's and Tacos" are a couple of examples. Arguably "Cauli's" would be correct but "Cauliflower's" is Just Plain Wrong
I wrote an obituary for the grocers' apostrophe that might give you a giggle: http://obitchuaries.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/thegrocersapostrophe/
obitchuaries - Thanks for sharing. I am giggling.
I saw a painting of a city scene, apparently in France, with narrow cobblestone streets, picturesque shops, and blue street signs in French on the walls of the buildings. In front of a little bistro was a sign reading:
"Crepe's du jour.".
And there isn't even a possessive apostrophe in French!
God bless all y'all! You have made my day.
For the apostrophe of the grocer:
grocer's blah - one grocer
grocers' blah - many or class of grocers
at least that's what I was taught in high school English in the 60's (and _that's_ the weird use of the apostrophe in forming some kinds of plurals; there's a name for it which I fergit. "60s" would mean "sixty seconds." Again, by what I was taught, and also found in the contemporary style books from the wire services if memory is not totally shot.
I suspect that it was originally short for (example) orange is 25 cents or tomato is so much per pound. Now people are used to seeing it, and it has contributed to the confusion around the possessive use of the apostrophe.
Actually any apostrophe there would be before the six ('60s), taking the place of "19." If there is no space between "60" and "s," context is generally used, just like other homonyms.
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