Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Foodie Fight

Foodies are the new sticklers. Alexis Fitts, in the March/April issue of Mother Jones, writes, “Who reads more nuance into punctuation rules than copy editors? Food activists!” As if parsing “organic” weren’t enough to keep them busy, they’ve got their arugula all in a twist over the apostrophe in farmers—as in farmers’ markets. “Market managers who maintain the apostrophe believe it indicates that 'farmers’ markets' exist 'for farmers and by farmers,' ” Fitts says. That’s a tenuous claim these days, however, as Daniel Duane points out in his accompanying article, “Foodie, Beware.” Instead of haggling over apostrophes, foodies ought to be figuring out how to keep the farmer in farmers markets.


  1. Ironically, the unnecessary apostrophe inserted when a writer means to indicate a plural (e.g., "I like cookie's and milk" - egad, it hurts to type that!) is referred to as a "greengrocer's apostrophe." Perhaps the farmers know that and are being extra careful?

  2. How interesting! I didn't know that, but your explanation makes a lot of sense.


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