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There is a commercial that has the description, Omaha Steaks Burgers, it drives me crazy. It sounds wrong, when I read it, it looks wrong. It seems improper to me.

Old-fashioned burgers just the way you like them. Extra juicy with a flavor that's out of this world, our Omaha Steaks Burgers are a grilling favorite. Individually wrapped for your convenience.

Am I right or is my memory of English classes wrong. If it was spoken/written as Omaha Steaks' Burgers, I could accept that, but not steaks burgers. Please opine.

closed as off-topic by Dan Bron, Edwin Ashworth, jimm101, Andy F, Fattie Dec 4 '17 at 14:25

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    I think it means Omaha Steaks' burgers, since Omaha Steaks is the name of a company. So: poor punctuation. – Mick Dec 2 '17 at 19:12
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about a non-standard but trademarked usage, which means correctness has to be seen as opinion- rather than linguistic-rule-based. If the company were called Amaho Steaksez, it would be equally 'correct'. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 3 '17 at 0:34
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    @EdwinAshworth oh come on! The question is perfectly valid, nobody's saying that the company would then have to do something about it. That it is a trademark is irrelevant. The question asked here is whether it would be correct usage in the wild, not whether it is valid to use non-standard language in a logo. – terdon Dec 3 '17 at 13:54
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    @EdwinAshworth as a logo, yes. But this isn't asking about logos but about standard usage. The question is not "can we mangle the language in logos" but "is this language mangled?". And, as it happens, it isn't. This is actually an interesting example where what even a native speaker might consider "wrong" is in fact grammatically correct. – terdon Dec 3 '17 at 15:38
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    @terdon The initial problem is that this assumes that a proper noun has to look conventionally grammatical. There is a pub in Britain called "The Misplaced Apostrophe's". It is pointless trying to suggest that this is ungrammatical. Proper names can be as odd, ungrammatical-looking, and/or unidiomatic-sounding as their owners wish. The fact that there is a company called "Omaha Steaks" is off-topic on ELU. The choice between attributive noun or Saxon genitive, which you mentioned way before I did, has been covered. Allow me to choose the close-vote reason I consider more salient. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 3 '17 at 23:23
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"Omaha Steaks" is the brand of the meat. Although it sounds clumsy it is correct.

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    I will just have to hit the mute button, just hearing it is irritating. – George Dec 2 '17 at 19:20
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    Thank you, I think. I am going to have a drink now, Tullamore Dew, Neat. – George Dec 2 '17 at 19:24
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    @George You might consider hitting the mute button for other commercials too --- and then also for the surrounding shows. – Andreas Blass Dec 3 '17 at 5:01
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    @AndreasBlass I also recommend not reading things written by people online, either. For that matter, talking to people should also be avoided. Only read books. – wizzwizz4 Dec 3 '17 at 14:51
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    @SGR - Angus isn't a plural... Aberdeen Angus is the name of a cattle species, one cow is not an Aberdeen Angu, like one 'upvote' is not a kudo :/ – Tetsujin Dec 4 '17 at 11:49
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The brief answer by KCCole is correct: "Omaha Steaks" is a brand of meat.

See "Omaha Steaks Burgers” sold by Omaha Steaks mail order company. As suggested in the comments that follow, "Omaha Steaks" is being used as an adjective, modifying "Burgers."

Calling them Omaha Steak Burgers would imply that the meat was ground from a steak, which would be misleading. Preserving the "s" clarifies that the ground meat is the product of the Omaha Steaks company, even though it may be made from lesser cuts of meat.

While the designation sounds odd, it keeps the lawyers happy. It also probably tastes better. Omaha Steaks are produced from premium cuts of beef - often from the rib or loin. Such cuts of beef ground into hamburger is often cut from the round or shoulder - sections that may have a better muscle-to-fat ration, and may have a more pronounced 'beefy' flavor. (But we'll leave that for a site other than ELU.)

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    Now I would like to know why it isn't "Omaha Steaks' Burgers"? Is it that the proper name of the thing - the meat patty - is the complete three word phrase (by the company's own definition)? – davidbak Dec 2 '17 at 21:16
  • i don't work for Omaha Steaks, though I've eaten their products. However, as a fugitive from the advertising business, I'm of the opinion that Omaha Steaks is singular, and that Omaha Steaks' Burger (or Chopped Garden Hose) is incorrect. Introducing any apostrophes would doubtless invite pecksniffery from the grammatical Peanut Gallery - metaphors mixed in a Robocoupe (tm) - and probably taint the meat. After all this, I think I'll switch to tofu. – Rob_Ster Dec 2 '17 at 21:41
  • I was thinking of apostrophe as possessive: they are the burgers belonging to (or made by, whatever) Omaha Steaks (which is, though a company, singular, I agree). – davidbak Dec 2 '17 at 22:02
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    @davidbak for the same reason it is "General Electric motors" and not "General Electric's motors". – terdon Dec 3 '17 at 13:56
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    It's being used as an adjective. Or adjectival noun. Not a possessive. – Acccumulation Dec 4 '17 at 2:39
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The possessive would actually not be correct here. "Omaha Steaks" is the name of a brand. As such, it is being used as an adjective in this construction and not a noun. For instance, if you had a refrigerator made by General Electric, you would claim to own a General Electric refrigerator and not General Electric's refrigerator.

In the same way, these burgers are made by (or of) Omaha Steaks, they are Omaha Steaks burgers and not Omaha Steaks' burgers. The burgers don't belong to Omaha Steaks. Just like they wouldn't be "Kobe beef's burgers" but instead would be "Kobe beef burgers". This is exactly the same reason why we say Kobe beef and not Kobe's beef and, for that matter, "beef burgers" and not "beef's burgers".

  • The attributive vs Saxon genitive issue has been covered before in depth on ELU. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 3 '17 at 22:28
  • Good to know. I certainly don't know enough to do it justice. – terdon Dec 3 '17 at 22:37
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    While I agree with the general thrust of this answer, I have a few nits to pick with the specifics. The 's-genitive does not only indicate ownership (a "children's hospital" does not belong to children, for example), so the sentence "The fridge belongs to you, after all, not the company who made it" seems a bit misleading. It's also a bit complicated whether or not "Omaha Steaks" should be classified as an adjective in this construction. I'm by no means sure that it isn't, but it could also be considered to just be a noun phrase, even though it is being used attributively. – sumelic Dec 4 '17 at 3:36
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    @sumelic very good points, thanks. The sentence about ownership was a little tongue in cheek, but you're right it is misleading so I removed my feeble attempt at humor. As for its being an adjective, I don't really claim to know. It feels like it is acting as an adjective here but I may very well be wrong. My main point is that the genitive is not needed and, indeed, should not be used here. – terdon Dec 4 '17 at 8:56
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They are suppressing the word brand. Correct phraseology would be

"Omaha Steaks" brand burgers.

(to the extent "burgers" itself is correct English.)

It sounds like they've fabricated "Omaha Steaks Burgers" as a trademark, in which case it's just word salad meant to be annoying: the same style, but opposite effect, of a Cocteau Twins lyric.

  • The word "brand" would normally be there to keep trademark lawyers happy. Especially with a brand name such as "Omaha Steaks" which sounds like it has the generic meaning "steaks from Omaha". – David Richerby Dec 3 '17 at 23:00

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