Photo special: whats' happening

As I'm on holiday (again), I've written some posts in advance (again). As before, each post is based around a photo or photos I've taken recently. And once more, please forgive me for any cock-ups on my part, as I won't be around to fix them sneakily before anyone notices.

Here's today's photo:

A supermarket noticeboard reading Whats apostrophe happening

I'm not really one for misplaced apostrophes (if you are, I recommend visiting Apostrophism or Apostrophe Catastrophes), but what we have here is a rather special case.

I took this shot in my local Sainsbury's supermarket. It appears the sign was printed with a misplaced apostrophe, which was subsequently partially erased - either by the supermarket or by a passing grammar fan, I know not. However what makes me laugh is that whoever tried (badly) to erase the errant apostrophe did not also insert an apostrophe in the correct position.


Miss Suzy said...

Not pretty. Apostrophe abuse is everywhere. So is misuse of "fewer and less," as in, "I had less colds this year than I did last year."

You are I may think alike.

I'm going to blogroll you there on my grammar blog, because I like The Engine Room.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Argh. Not the old fewer vs less faux debate.

As MWDEU says: The OED shows that less has been used of countables since the time of King Alfred the Great -- he used it that way in one of his own translations from Latin -- more than a thousand years ago (in about 888). So essentially less has been used of countables in English for just about as long as there has been a written English language. After about 900 years Robert Baker opined that fewer might be more elegant and proper. Almost every usage writer since Baker has followed Baker's lead, and generations of English teachers have swelled the chorus. The result seems to be a fairly large number of people who now believe less used of countables to be wrong, though its standardness is easily demonstrated.

Anonymous said...

Ridger, your post is 'terrific', using M-W's first definition, not AHD's. :-)