Eastern Michigan University

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Softball fields. Civil liberties are not the only things under attack [surveillance camera sign with interesting plural formation]. [photo]

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  1. By John R
    June 10, 2013 at 6:53 am | permalink

    A contraction for “camera is”? Is there only one camera?

  2. By john floyd
    June 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm | permalink

    I took this to be an incorrect possessive; reading this as a contraction is an angle I had not considered, since it seemed unlikely that only one camera would be enough to cover four ball fields plus the concession stand. Next time I am there, I’l (contraction) have to look to see if there are cameras, or camera’s the correct usage, after all. In any case, this certainly is the surveillance camera’s day in the sun.

  3. By Rod Johnson
    June 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm | permalink

    Just a greengrocer’s apostrophe.

  4. By John Floyd
    June 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm | permalink


    I’m unfamiliar with that expression. Can you enlighten me? Thanks.

  5. By Rod Johnson
    June 11, 2013 at 7:21 am | permalink

    John: See here for a discussion and here for a myriad of examples.

    The thing to keep in mind is that language changes. This use of apostrophes used to be common and accepted, but somehow it was decided that they should only be used to denote possession and not plurals. As with many language peeves (singular they, split infinitives, ending sentences with prepositions, etc.), this is basically a rule that was made up by some guy, but people are very invested in it and have a strongly negative reaction when it’s violated.

  6. By Rod Johnson
    June 11, 2013 at 8:03 am | permalink

    Whoops, didn’t mean to sound like I was hectoring there. This is a subject that linguists have to talk about a lot, so we maybe have developed kind of a spiel.