GrammarBlog

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Erroneous supermarket possessives and zany shortened forms

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I hate – hate – terms such as "Tesco's" and "Marks's". Where has this possessive (and often incongruously shortened) form come from? The company is called Tesco. It is a Tesco store. Tesco is a massive, rich, corporate behemoth with dubious principles, not a tiny local shop whose owner you're on first name terms with.

If that's bad, 'comedy' nicknames are even worse. "Maccy D's". 'Marks & Sparks'. Bah.

A slight exception to this rant is Sainsbury's. They used to trade as 'J Sainsbury', which, given it is named after one person, you can just about forgive people for referring to as "Sainsbury's". The reason I mention it is that they then rebranded themselves as simply "Sainsbury's", which possibly confused the tiny minds of those who use "Asda's" et al.

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9 Comments:
Blogger Gez said...

I disagree, sorry. Just because Tesco is a global conglomerate, doesn't mean it can't own anything. In fact it owns quite a lot. Tesco's stores, Tesco's land, Tesco's assets and Tesco's profits.

Also, since when did you object to capitalism? Has Dan's propaganda worked after all these years?

19 June 2007 at 22:19  
Blogger Tom said...

I don't object to capitalism. I love it dearly.

My point is not that Tesco can't be used possessively, as in your examples. But it's called "Tesco". And when I go, I go to Tesco. Does it say "Tesco's" on the storefront?

19 June 2007 at 22:27  
Blogger Dan said...

In the first series (I think)of 'The Royle Family', Barbara says something along the lines of "she got her dress in Marks's, Jim", and I believe this is the kind of mistake stoking Tom's ire in this area; "I'm just going to pick a few things up at Tesco's".

Can you stoke ire? I think so.

20 June 2007 at 10:29  
Blogger Emma-Louise said...

Now, we must be careful here. Let's not go wrong and rip at strips for the way people speak. "Mark's" on page is a total gaff. "Marks" in speech is merely a short form of the wole title and therefore correct.
I'd also point out that the post about lyrics sounds a little harsh. Sorry, Gez, I didn't read the whole article (and whilst I found the Idea of throttling Mr Prestley for his crimes against grammar tickling, to say the least), it bagan to bother me sometime after we spoke. Language is a vehicle et cetara, it is also an art form and an ever changing, growing, living entity. Music, poetry, scriptwriting and speaking are all free and expressive. Aye, right, kick someones arse over saying "supposably" or suggesting they "learn children English." This I agree with. But the line is thin. Where you think you hear "should of," you are actually hearing "should 've." Shoretened form corrupted by dialect or accent. Sure, some people are stupid and actually WRITE "should of" but they're the ones we'll hunt down, have no fear.
I do feel strongly about written English but as an actor/ESL teacher/trained vocal student, I can't under-value the importance of stretching spoken English.

So all that said, how are you all? I must post you some Konglish - especially my cross-dressing shoe!

24 June 2007 at 06:42  
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