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butchers, butcher's, or butchers' block and other grammatical koans?

 
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Which kind of butchers is correct for the following sentence?

A wooden butchers block scrubbed with salt ....

My spell check says it is 'butcher's'.  To me, that means that a butcher owns the block.

What I want to say is that this is the kind of block that butchers often use but isn't necessarily used by a specific butcher.  

Any grammarians out there to enlighten me?
 
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I think the correct grammar is butcher's block.  It is possessive but doesn't strictly refer to a block that belongs to a particular butcher.   Butchers' block is a collective possessive, the block of many butchers.  Butchers block is right out, much like 5.

This is a case where a possessive has become descriptive.  Even if you aren't a butcher, you can still own a butcher's block.  It refers to a very specific type of block.  If you want to build a shed, you should use a framer's hammer.  It's a type of hammer, not one that is owned by a framer.  If a framer owns a ball-peen hammer, it's technically a framer's hammer, though it's not a framer's hammer, if you understand.  Similarly, any block that a butcher owns is a butcher's block, but what you're talking about is a specific item, and can be owned by anyone.

My hammer example may not be applicable in your area as some places call it a 'framing hammer'.  You could also say 'butchering block', but I don't know if I've ever heard that before.

I've probably made it worse...
 
r ranson
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That's a huge help.  Thank you.
Have an apple.


I don't suppose if you know if it's foodsafe, food-safe, or food safe?

Soap is the only ingredient in my list that is not officially foodsafe.

In Canadian context where the word(s) foodsafe is used as an official designation by the government to say this is certified safe to eat by humans.

Or maybe I need a new word.  Do other countries understand foodsafe (food safe, food-safe)?
 
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Why pluralalize it. I see them referred as a butcher block.  
 
Timothy Markus
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I think it should be food-safe as foodsafe isn't a word, and food safe is two separate words.  The hyphen is used to create a specific description of the type of safety.  

Wayne, where are you located?  Raven and I are in Canada, so it may be regional, though I'm sure we got the term from our British Overlords.  You are, of course, correct, in this and all things .  I've never heard it called a 'butcher block' though.
 
r ranson
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hmm.. butcher block.  That sounds awkward.  I can't say I've ever heard anyone say that before.

http://www.foodsafe.ca/ - apparently it's one word?  Although it does seem to be all capitals like it's a trademark phrase.  Maybe I should stick with food-safe to avoid infringing on copyright or whatever that is.  
 
Timothy Markus
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It would have the TM circle if it was trademarked.  I think you can use whatever you want.  I won't rat you out...
 
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I like food-safe. Food safe sounds like a vault to me.

I enjoy language and grammar and I'm certainly no pro at it, but I like to use the hyphen when I am unsure about a word or word pairing, and I've thought about it too long and my brain gets totally confused. It helps me get the message across.
 
wayne fajkus
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Timothy Markus wrote:

Wayne, where are you located?  Raven and I are in Canada, so it may be regional, though I'm sure we got the term from our British Overlords.  You are, of course, correct, in this and all things .  I've never heard it called a 'butcher block' though.



Texas.  I don't know i am right, i just know the term is used here. Not sure if it is one word or spaced (butcherblock or butcher block) An island can have a butcher block top on it, which designates a counter with 2x4 hardwoods connected together to form the top.

Premade formica counters that look like it is labeled butcher block(or butcherblock)

You got me curious now. Gonna do some google searching. I can see how words change in different cultures. Like my use of "gonna ". I highly doubt its proper  
 
wayne fajkus
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Home Depot used butchers block

A saw butcher's block only when referred to a horror movie of that name. I wonder if they went through the same debate?

The rest used butcher block.

This is interesting.  I imagine questions like this pop up dozens of time when writing a book.
 
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I seem to have seen the usage without the 's' when talking about a single item, such as a butcher block table or countertop. Whereas if someone was just referencing it in general they might say, "I'm thinking of going with butcher's block" obviously not saying the apostrophe aloud. Common usage may be regional and subject to influence from popular sources.

Also, just because one use may be popular doesn't specifically mean it is correct. I'm all for using words in different ways to express an idea. This is how language evolves, no matter how much it irritates the experts. The point of language is to convey a message. The ones that get me are ones that seem to be picked up by mishearing something. Gallery instead of galley, or chunk instead of chuck, both of which seem to me to be used improperly more often than not. It isn't appropriating old words for new uses as much as being misheard and misused. I have terrible hearing, but I guess I'm self motivated and fortunate to have easy internet access to learn and double check what I think I know.

Out of curiosity, I checked The Butcher Block Wikipedia Page and saw what I was already thinking. For instance, "Butcher's block in modern American kitchen." and "Proper care of a butcher block" where the singular version drops the apostrophe "s".
 
r ranson
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This one reminds me of trying to figure out Mothers' Day..or is it "Mother's Day" or "Mother's Day" Since it's about all mothers and it's their day, I put the apostrophe after the s: "Mothers' Day." I have no idea if it's correct, though. It just fits my mental desire to make words follow rules that make sense to me. I'd probably write Butchers' Block like that, even  if it's wrong, because I'm stubborn like that.

I like foodsafe as one word. Though, I like a lot of word combinations as one word, and the spellchecker yells at me for it...
 
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My favourite farmer's booth is at the Ottawa Farmers' Market where many other farmers market their goods.

That one helps me a lot.

If you are marketing your food to smart people, you'd better talk and write like them. Remember fewer people eat less cake. If you can count it, it's "fewer", if you cannot, it's "less".

Another one that helps me.

Please correct me if I am wrong on any of these. My customers are in Canada and thus the spelling of "favourite".

george
 
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I've seen "butcher block" more often, and it is used by a prominent manufacturer of butcher blocks and "butcher block" countertops. boos blocks

I also understand "butcher block" to mean the segmented construction technique involved in making the block, where smaller/shorter pieces are joined to create a larger block/surface (usually free of defects or knots that might be in singular large wood pieces)
So, when I hear "butcher block countertop" it is not just a wooden thing, but a specific construction, and usually maple (most common, unless specified as another wood)
 
r ranson
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From what I can see, it's butcher's block in most of the world, and butcher block in parts of North America.

Looking at shops in my area, the large American Shops call it 'butcher block' but the rest still call them 'butcher's block'.

 
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