Friday, August 27, 2010

Plurals and Possessives

I see their misuse everywhere. Everyone wants to either eschew apostrophes completely or make it so that apostrophes mark plurals.

Fuck it. I'm going to stop fighting it. Go nuts everyone. English as a written language survived before the use of apostrophes. English will survive the whims of the troglodytes.

I need a drink.

Enjoy some Toothpaste for Dinner


  1. I used to make a big stink when someone used an apostrophe inappropriately or failed to use one when required, but it became too much effort.

  2. I hate wen student's miss-use apostrophe's and comma's, and wen they cant tel the diferance betwene them. Its true: Their always ether chewing apostrophe's compleetly or makin it sew that apostrophe's marc plural's.

    Fucking jackass's.

  3. Whats wrong with the way people use apostrophe's? I s'ee nothing' wro'ng with any of i't.

    Maths'quatch ou't.

  4. Oh, for crying out loud. This is called dereliction of duty: would you two -please- do your jobs, and correct your students' English? Or do I have to do it for you, in my science-for-non-majors class? Why not, since they for dang sure can't do math, no matter what I do.

  5. Technically, language itself survive a complete lack of diacritical marks AND punctuation - the Romans. But then again, maybe that's why classicists get into fights about what Cicero "really meant" and why it could be "holy grail" ("san greal") or pure blood ("sang real"). And to think, Tom Hank's latest blockbuster could be due to a stupid monk's misinterpretation of 2 eensy weensy words...

  6. Frod, we're as likely to get them to read their style manuals (which are often just disguised primers on remedial grammar and punctuation) as we are to get them to calculate their own grades. Both 7th grade tasks. (Heck, some of us even make calculating grades a 4th grade task -- simple addition and consulting a chart!)

    Besides, too many red marks on a paper and the little cherubs will whine to anyone who will listen about how MEAN and UNREASONABLE you are.

  7. Beth: the Roman Empire declined and fell, remember?

    Meanie: I know all too well that too many of them will never read Strunk & White, which I list as a required text (and yes, I always have to calm them down by telling them that they don't have to buy a copy just for my general ed astronomy course, if they already have a copy for another course). Many of them clearly also never read the writing guide I wrote myself, but then that's mainly specialized stuff (e.g. "Earth" should be capitalized, because it's a place name: anyone who doesn't think so should be reminded that the Space Age began in 1957).

    But some of them do, and I can see that they do. For the rest, having a style manual anyway is useful for fending off the whine, "But you never said EXACTLY how to do it..." A good, thick one gives a satisfying whack, if necessary. I am also glad that our Provost is an English Ph.D., who actually encourages this.

  8. Well... I send my students to the source of all knowledge and humor: The Oatmeal.

    In this case (apostrophes):

    The Oatmeal also dispenses some good advice on "How to use a semicolon", "Ten words you need to stop misspelling", and so on.

    Additionally, there is helpful advice that students can use is real life: "How everything goes to hell in a zombie apocalypse", "7 reasons to keep your tyrannosaur off of crack cocaine", and "Avatar and Aliens are the same goddamn movie".

  9. The. Oatmeal. Rocks.

    And perhaps it was their lack of punctuation that resulted in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire? hmmmmm.....

  10. > And perhaps it was their lack of punctuation
    > that resulted in the decline and fall of the
    > Roman Empire? hmmmmm.....

    Frickin' A right! Now you know what Gibbon meant by, "lack of civic virtue."


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