Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

War on the "Rogue Apostrophe"

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • War on the "Rogue Apostrophe"

    This is one of the few things in life that can make me stop in a public place and swear. It's happening everywhere English is spoken in the world...but it's not gonna start happening here regularly, if I can help it. So attend me, cousins.

    I spotted one of these in a message header today: Lee edited the message in question, because she knew it would drive me nuts if I had to look at it more than once. (Which I would have had to do. I'm in here at least a couple of times a day.) I speak of that plague of our civilization, the Rogue Apostrophe.

    This means (broadly) any apostrophe appearing where it doesn't belong...but (specifically) the apostrophe stuck in front of the "S" in a plural word, where it has absolutely no need to be.

    Here's the rule. If the word is a possessive singular, then it takes an apostrophe. (Say you're trying to talk about "the cat belonging to or possessed by Diane": then the right form is "Diane's cat.")

    If the word is just a plural of a common noun, it does not take an apostrophe. So the right usage is "Diane's cats" and not "Diane's cat's".

    I know this nasty habit can be seen popping up just about everyplace. (Dave Barry described it best: "these days, the apostrophe doesn't mean anything but 'Look out! An S is coming!'"). And it's going to spread further if we don't all do something. But if I have to look at it all the time while I'm reading you guys' messages, it's going to make me crazy. (Getting the "it's" and "its" difference right can wait awhile.) So, until further notice, Lee (by my request) is going to correct the problem wherever she sees it, without further comment. There are very, very few occasions for Lee to edit people's messages...so ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if you see "This message had been edited by Lee Enfield-Burke" on something, it'll be because you made the booboo.

    Friends, change your habits (those of you who need to) and make me proud.

    (See also the Bob The Angry Flower cartoon here for another take on the problem.)

    -- DD

    [This message was edited by Diane Duane on 06 September 2003 at 8:26.]
    -- DD

  • #2
    Wow, my teacher used to bust me in class about the same subject when i was in Elementary school, it has been a while since i got this speech again! I could never get it right, for the life of me! Also, i think my Dad's spell check on his computer gave me a good lesson to, with those dreaded, red, squiggly lines. I hate those.

    Diane Duane: That was the most angry flower i think i have seen in my life so far. I don't think I'll forget that lesson anytime soon!
    "Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself" Hermione Granger Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Comment


    • #3
      Go raibh maith agat!

      Comment


      • #4
        OMG. Even though the original post was written seven years ago, this is sooo true. I'm a grammar nut for the most part, and it absolutely drives me nuts if something isn't written out grammatically correct. Some fanfictions are really bad for grammar mistakes in general, and I have to correct them in my head as I go (why the word "but" almost always needs a comma after it when it doesn't in one person's writing is beyond me). For my high school English teacher inappropriate placed apostrophes were a "sin" and he marked them in red pen instead of pencil and deducted marks off grammar. Made you learn how to use them properly. He also sometimes killed innocent "that"s, but that's a different story... I'm just a sucker for convoluted sentences and expecting people to know what I'm thinking about when I'm writing. I also hate being politically correct in essays. Why can't I pick a gender and stick with it? Trying to get verb-subject agreement right when trying to be politically correct is annoying for me. Blame my high school English teacher for wanting to be politically incorrect as well. He was "old school", which meant he didn't care about being politically correct and he was from what he said was a rougher part of town, so he said he didn't have to be politically correct.
        I stand tall, proud, brave, straight, and strong.
        Fairest and Fallen, greetings and defiance.
        ~Book junkie~

        Comment


        • #5
          Regarding that incessant rogue apostrophe, I hate it when someone is describing grades with an apostrophe. "I got 2 A's and 3 B's." These are plurals so no apostrophe needed.

          Bob

          Comment


          • #6
            What actually drives me nuts ---without surrounding spaces---is something I think only I care about (sigh). Well, me and The Chicago Manual of Style.
            Last edited by Kathy Li; August 13, 2010, 09:57:14 PM.
            New to the board? Please take the time to read the YW Board-Specific Rules, or Why We're Not Like Other Boards FAQ.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm a total punctuation/grammar nut, so I thank you profusely for reminding the general public about this, DD.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kathy Li View Post
                ---without surrounding spaces---is something I think only I care about (sigh). Well, me and The Chicago Manual of Style.
                And various annoying people at Wikipedia, of whom I am not one -- I just type as many hyphens as seem useful at the time. :-)
                ?p?s????? u??q s?? ??????? ??uos??d ?W

                "You are the most insolent child I have ever had the misfortune to teach." "Thank you."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I feel your pain Diane Duane!
                  The Apostrophe is the thing that always come to my mind when people talk about grammar and how it's changed. Being in High School I have come across an unfortunate amount of badly spelled if not odd rally posters, club signs, etc.
                  Also I follow a Blog like site that uploads pictures of misspelled or just bad English that they find. Among the Engrish and Mistakes that foreign speaker make there's a fair share of miss use of English by It's native speakers such as the use of an Apostrophe.

                  ( Engrish, Funny Typos, Misspellings, Bad Grammar, Funny Engrish & Spelling Mistakes < The aforementioned site if you are interested.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by anotherBob View Post
                    Regarding that incessant rogue apostrophe, I hate it when someone is describing grades with an apostrophe. "I got 2 A's and 3 B's." These are plurals so no apostrophe needed.

                    Bob
                    Well... I disagree. As I learned it a couple of generations ago, that is the prescribed way to pluralize the names of letters; e.g.,

                    This sentence uses 10 e's, not counting the one just before the apostrophe.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thnidu View Post
                      Well... I disagree. As I learned it a couple of generations ago, that is the prescribed way to pluralize the names of letters; e.g.,

                      This sentence uses 10 e's, not counting the one just before the apostrophe.
                      Greetings, good doctor. That does stir a deeply buried memory in the grey sludge. My memory fails to extend to the pluralisations of acronyms, though. By logical extension, if the acronym is pronounced as a series of letter names, one might expect an apostrophe to be appropriate. That'd make (for example) "CD's" correct, but "CDs" often seems to be preferred.

                      (Oh, and watch out for the enthusiastic greeters of newcomers, who will, given half a chance, supply the customary strait-jacket. )
                      -- Rick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I saw this and got really excited. Grammar freak that I am and all that.
                        For anyone who would like to learn about apostrophes (or could use a giggle) here is the link to a comic from The Oatmeal. I discovered this site when my Research and Methods teacher posted Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling on our class website. There are two other grammar comics. One is for i.e. versus e.g. and the other is for How to Use a Semicolon. The comic is funny and pretty accurate, although the humor is moderately violent and possibly crass.

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X