Holy mole, you don’t need that apostrophe

by Glenn on October 6, 2014

Apostrophe problem on the window at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Portland.

What do you do when your favorite Mexican restaurant with the very fine mole sauce messes up with the apostrophe? Do you say something? I haven’t. (I feel reasonably confident in my ability to explain the problem; I have serious doubts about how to convey the importance.)

Actually, I wanted to give these wonderful folks the benefit of the doubt (I mean it’s a really good mole sauce), so I thought about a way this apostrophe could make sense. If we assumed some missing words, the message could be:

 [Our] dinner combo is [priced at] 2 for $20.

This, then, could be reduced to “Dinner combo’s 2 for $20.” (The apostrophe, of course, in this instance is indicating the missing “i”.)

But I think that’s a stretch. I’m pretty sure they are saying that they have dinner combos (more than one) on their menu and if you buy two of them, you can get them both for $20.

The rule: To make a regular noun plural, add an –s or an –es.

Right: Apostrophes can be challenging.
Wrong: Apostrophe’s can be challenging.

Right: Christmases are happy occasions.
Wrong: Christmas’s are happy occasions.

Right: Dinner Combos 2 for $20
Wrong: Dinner Combo’s 2 for $20

Clearly an improper use of an apostrophe, but in spite of my elitist tendencies, I will continue to order the enchiladas de mole con pollo. Did I get that right?