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May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

Edited By Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank

This book "examines the reasons behind the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages."

Academic Paper

Title: The grocer's apostrophe: popular prescriptivism in the 21st century
Author: Joan C. Beal
Institution: University of Sheffield
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: '“Some shops use an apostrophe, wrongly, to indicate an plural (‘pea's’), but will generally omit the apostrophe when one is actually required (‘new seasons asparagus’), a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the greengrocer's (or grocer's) apostrophe. Try to avoid this.” (Marsh & Hodsdon (eds), 2008: 5)

In this article, I shall examine a range of evidence from printed and web-based sources to gauge the extent of interest in punctuation, and the kinds of discourse employed in discussion of these matters. I shall also compare this with the comparative lack of attention paid to punctuation by 18th-century ‘prescriptivists’. I shall also consider why prescriptivism has returned with such a vengeance in the 21st century, and why punctuation is a focus of attention.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 26, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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