So last week we went to the farmers’ market.
I’ve mentioned it before. More than once. Heck, way more than once — so many more that I can’t be bothered to count. (I think I’ve only mentioned bedpans once, though.)
Anyway. We were at the market. (One of them — we have two within a couple of kilometres of the front door.) And we were there for a reason — we needed groceries. And with half an acre of vendors, well, there were plenty of groceries available. While we were wandering from the organic greens to the heirloom tomatoes, though, I started to overthink things just a bit — I realized that I wasn’t sure where the apostrophe in ‘farmers’ went. Was it before the ‘s’ or after it? If ‘farmer’ was singular, then it would clearly go before. If it was plural — ‘farmers’, more than one farmer — then the apostrophe should clearly be after the ‘s’. Or should I be using an apostrophe at all? The AP style guide says I shouldn’t. (I think the CP Stylebook does too, but I’m not sure since I’m not willing to pay for access.) Grammar Girl says that it’s contentious. Strunk and White? The Chicago Manual of Style? I had no idea. Perhaps this is what Mrs. W meant when she talked about ‘genitive constructions.’ Maybe I should have paid more attention in her class. Maybe I should have paid some attention in her class.
And what constitutes a ‘farmer’ anyway? Probably the people reselling someone else’s produce aren’t technically ‘farmers’ but they’re at the ‘farmers market,’ no matter where the apostrophe may or may not go. But what about the apiarist? Is he a farmer? Or the maple syrup guy — what about him? Why does everything have to be so COMPLICATED?
It was about then that a farmer in the third row shouted at me:
HEY! PUT YOUR PANTS ON!
Why do some people have to be so picky?