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    #1

    Use of Apostrophe

    I recently questioned a major food company's spelling on one of their product labels.
    The package in question [a box of pet treats] is labeled "Mini's." I suggested that the correct spelling of these treats should be "Minis."
    The company's response was as follows:
    You are correct that an apostrophe does often indicate
    a possesive when accompanied by an "s" at the end of a
    word. However,
    an apostrophe can also indicate
    an omission of letters. In the rendering of "Mini's,"
    the apostrophe represents the characters "atures"
    from the word miniatures.
    I find this expanation to be a bit of a stretch. What do you think?
    Sorry for such a long question.................

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Use of Apostrophe

    I don't like it but I can't entirely argue with their logic. I once had a short argument with a friend who wrote "I will put the photo's up later". I chastised her for her inappropriate use of an apostrophe but she said that she considers it to be a contraction of "photographs" and therefore the apostrophe replaces "graph". I didn't like her explanation any more than I like the food company's but I still can't say that they are 100% wrong.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Use of Apostrophe

    I am not a teacher.

    I don't like it either, and I agree that the food company's explanation is rather far fetched.

    The case of photo's is no better for at least two reasons.
    The word photo is accepted in all good dictionaries as a word in its own right, and the plural is photos.
    If this were not the case the singular would be photo', ending with an apostrophe.

    Following the same reasoning does this person also think math's is preferable to maths?
    Last edited by Roman55; 20-Feb-2014 at 19:27. Reason: correcting a typo

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Use of Apostrophe

    I have no problem with "mini's" for the same reason I have no problem with "I got all A's on my report card."

    There is no "normal" plural for the word "mini" as there is for photo/photos or apple/apples or child/children.

    In many cases with out a regular plural, we can just add the s: CDs, 1990s, etc.
    But when it would look like some word you can't quite place or (worse) like another word, the apostrophe helps the reader figure it out.

    Dot your i's and cross your t's. -- You need the 's for i's or you'll have "Dot your is..." and while you may not need it for "ts" I believe consistency is a more important style rule in this case.

    If I saw "Minis" on a box, I'd "hear" "my-niss" or perhaps "minnous" in my head and would not make the connection to "mini" right away.

    I think it adds clarity and that's the point of punctuation.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 20-Feb-2014 at 22:16. Reason: typo
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: Use of Apostrophe

    Quote Originally Posted by I.M. Knott View Post
    I find this expanation to be a bit of a stretch. What do you think?
    It's one of those explanations that is difficult to believe but which does make a case.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Use of Apostrophe

    I think they would have done better to have simply said "You're right in general, but when a standard plural from doesn't exist for a word and simply adding the S might cause confusion, using the apostrophe in a non-conventional way is the lesser of the evils."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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