greengrocer's apostrophe

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Alternative forms[edit]


From the misuse of apostrophes on signs in greengrocers' shops.


greengrocer's apostrophe (plural greengrocer's apostrophes)

  1. An incorrectly used apostrophe, especially one mistakenly used to form the plural of a noun, for example to write the plural of banana as banana's instead of bananas.
    • 1998, Richard M. Hogg; et al, The Cambridge History of the English Language, page 121:
      It is hardly surprising that these conventions seem to be in rapid collapse, with what has been called "the greengrocer's apostrophe" (apple's 60p, Antique's, linguistic's, and perhaps even mean't, all personally attested) []
    • 1993, British Film Institute, Sight and Sound Film Review
      [] sign advertising the Pari's Hotel is less an early case of greengrocer's apostrophe than a sardonic Pascalian allusion (pari in French meaning 'bet').
    • 2004, Joy Burrough-Boenisch, Righting English That's Gone Dutch
      When applied in English it produces greengrocer's apostrophes.


See also[edit]