, pub-0038581670763948, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 My Typo Humour: Counting your chickens

Friday 27 April 2012

Counting your chickens

Oh, Tesco. How I contemn you.

Before we get to the typo, may I first point out the inspired serving suggestion?

Yes, that one. Putting it on a plate and cutting it in half. Which genius dreamed that up?

Anyway, John H poses the question: Surely it should be 2 chickens en croute? That is, plural chickens rather than plural croutes.

I agree. In fact, I'd go further than that and suggest it should be 2 chickens en croûte. Clearly, it's not hard to add the circumflex. I mean, I just did.

I wonder whether Tesco's research has discovered that circumflexes (why aren't they circumflices?) somehow deter customers from buying.

Getting back to John's point though, perhaps it ought to say 2 pieces of chicken en croûte.

Because I'm willing to bet that, if it said 2 chickens en croûte, people would complain that there weren't actually two whole chickens in there.

Both with creamy mushroom sauce. Both wrapped in puff pastry.

In a box weighing all of 400g.


  1. Since 'chicken en croute' descibes one item I feel it should be two 'chicken en croutes'

  2. I have to agree with Anonymous above (no relation).

    If a dining companion and I were in an Indian restaurant, both fancying a Chicken Tikka Masala, I'm pretty certain I'd ask for two Chicken Tikka Masalas rather than two Chickens Tikka Masala.

    It might be grammatically incorrect but it just feels right that way.

  3. What's the plural of Beef Wellington?

    It wouldn't be Beefs Wellington, now, would it?

  4. I agree that Chickens Tikka Massala and Beefs Wellington both sound ridiculous and pompous whether they're written or spoken.

    But the qualifying descriptive phrase en croûte is not English. It's a culinary term borrowed directly from the French. Therefore, the pluralisation of the compound noun chicken en croûte should follow the French rules. That is, to pluralise the first word. Thus, we get chickens en croûte. Other examples that follow this same rule include potatoes au gratin and vegetables en branche.


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