1

This is a strophe from one song:

"But the times were hard, Lord,
the jobs were few
all through Tecumseh valley
but she asked around
and a job she found
tending bar at Gypsy Sally's"

Can I rewrite that this way:

"tending bar at Gypsy Sally's bar"

5
  • 1
    But I don't think there is an ellipsis (something 'missing'). Just like I work at the butcher's. Or: I went shopping at Penny's. While Penny's is a short form of the name of the department store JC Penny, I would not understand any of these sentences in terms of an ellipsis, but rather in terms of natural possessive forms to indicate a place. In fact Gipsy Sally's doesn't have to be the name of the bar; it could be the name of the house or place where there is a bar. @StoneyB may analyze differently, though.
    – user6951
    Jun 2 '15 at 22:56
  • 1
    In other words, I'm going over to Joe's, there is nothing missing from the sentence, nothing elided. It is this use of the apostrophe that tells us we are referring to a place. Whereas you could say that We used Jane's car not Bill's does have an elision of "car" at the end. But (to me) We went to Jane's, not Bill's does not involve elision.
    – user6951
    Jun 2 '15 at 23:40
  • 1
    Note that in English LitCrit we call a section of a song or poem like this a stanza; strophe is reserved almost exclusively for descriptions of Classical Greek dramatic poetry. Jun 3 '15 at 1:03
  • 1
    @pazzo Quite right. If you wanta be really cute, you could call it a 'fused-head determiner'. And in fact, Gipsy Sally's is a whorehouse. Jun 3 '15 at 1:06
  • How could I be sure that is whorehouse if I could not see the end of the song? Is there any tradition in English about this name?
    – Apprentice
    Jun 3 '15 at 3:46
3

Whilst you can never be too sure with song lyrics - since they're open to multiple interpretations - I think this use of the possessive s ('s) is a common trait in place names of businesses, particularly bars or public houses.

They serve a good beer at Gypsy Sally's (bar).

It is also used to imply "home", when used after an individual's name or family name.

I'm just going over to the Johnsons' (house).

Additionally, this is often true of professions such as: the butcher's or the baker's.

So, in short, you can rewrite the last line like that, in order to understand it, but it doesn't flow so well because of the repetition of bar. As such, I wouldn't rewrite it that way.

2
  • 1
    @StoneyB Would his dad be The John, then?
    – oerkelens
    Jun 3 '15 at 8:03
  • 1
    Thanks people. A beginner's mistake (does that <<< apostrophe get me out of trouble?!). I hang my head in shame. I wrote the answer in bed if that's a mitigating factor...
    – JMB
    Jun 3 '15 at 9:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.