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The Greengrocer’s Apostrophe
What is the Greengrocer’s Apostrophe? Credit: Juliet Fay
The Grocer’s Apostrophe is the little, suspended comma that mysteriously appears on signs, typically in green grocers’ shops. It shows up when vegetables go plural. One apple; many apple’s. It was named for the greengrocers who brought it into common usage. You’ll find plenty of examples of the Grocer’s Apostrophe along the racks of beautiful fruit and vegetables. Look out for: potato’s, tomatoe’s, cauli’s, carrot’s, banana’s and more. It might be more accurate to call it a Grocers’ Apostrophe unless the offence is only ever committed by one grocer. Ommission of apostrophes: In the UK there is a tendency to drop apostrophes in many commonly used names such as St Annes, St Johns Lane and so on. UK supermarket chain Tesco omits the mark where standard practice would require it. Signs in Tesco advertise (among other items) “mens magazines”, “girls toys”, “kids books” and “womens shoes”. In his book Troublesome Words, author Bill Bryson lambastes Tesco for this, stating that “the mistake is inexcusable, and those who make it are linguistic Neanderthals.”   Credit: Wikipedia
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The Greengrocer’s Apostrophe
What is the Grocer’s Apostrophe?                  Credit: Juliet Fay
The Grocer’s Apostrophe is the little, suspended comma that mysteriously appears on signs, typically in green grocers’ shops. It shows up when vegetables go plural. One apple; many apple’s. It was named for the greengrocers who brought it into common usage. You’ll find plenty of examples of the Grocer’s Apostrophe along the racks of beautiful fruit and vegetables. Look out for: potato’s, tomatoe’s, cauli’s, carrot’s, banana’s and more. It might be more accurate to call it a Grocers’ Apostrophe unless the offence is only ever committed by one grocer. Ommission of apostrophes: In the UK there is a tendency to drop apostrophes in many commonly used names such as St Annes, St Johns Lane and so on. UK supermarket chain Tesco omits the mark where standard practice would require it. Signs in Tesco advertise (among other items) “mens magazines”, “girls toys”, “kids books” and “womens shoes”. In his book Troublesome Words, author Bill Bryson lambastes Tesco for this, stating that “the mistake is inexcusable, and those who make it are linguistic Neanderthals.”   Credit: Wikipedia
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