• Where’s John? - He’s gone to the baker’s.

Why is an apostrophe used here? What does it mean after putting an apostrophe? Please explain. I am talking about the last one.


1 Answer 1


This is the usual way to say that John has gone to buy some bread (or whatever else is sold there) at the baker's shop. The word shop is implied in the sentence, we know it's there but we do not write or say it.
The apostrophe shows the relationship between the baker and his shop. The shop belongs to the baker (or at least he runs it). In fact when we say "He’s gone to the baker’s." we're talking about the shop and not the person.

In the same way we could say:

I'm going to my aunt's for the weekend.

Implying "I'm going to my aunt's house."

It's the same grammatical construction with 's when you say:

John's book.

But in the latter "book" has to be expressed because we would not guess what is implied.

This is called the genitive. For more see here.

  • Does the genitive-s imply to the places i.e. houses and not the shops? Going to baker's means baker's house or shop?
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 7:46
  • 2
    It can imply any place according to context. "I'm going to my grandparents'" means I'm going to whatever place they live in (house, flat, palace, caravan, cave...). When talking about a trader it's the word "shop" that is usually implied implied. We go "to the chemist's", "to the hairdresser's", "to the butcher's"... If we meant we were going to the visit the baker in his house, we'd specify it to avoid ambiguity, for example we could say "I'm going to the baker's house" meaning we're not going to buy bread but making a private call.
    – None
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 7:56
  • Yes you need to always think of it as missing the noun for the place. The baker is a person, and "the baker's" always means "the shop of the baker" --> "the baker's shop". "The bakery" is the name for the type of shop, so of course here you do not need the apostrophe.
    – nxx
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 11:35

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