Skip

I can't believe she's explaining it's many use's.
November 13, 2009 10:29 AM   Subscribe


 
Thank's for posting this!
posted by desjardins at 10:31 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're post isnt clear enough. Just sayin'.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:33 AM on November 13, 2009


aw, beaten by desjardin's
posted by ODiV at 10:33 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Awesome!
posted by Malice at 10:33 AM on November 13, 2009


'
posted by dortmunder at 10:33 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


How to use Capital Letters
posted by BaxterG4 at 10:35 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry. I of course meant    How to use Capital Letter's
posted by BaxterG4 at 10:37 AM on November 13, 2009




Also don't miss Bob the Angry Flower's take.
posted by echo target at 10:37 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


ah, beaten to it!
posted by echo target at 10:37 AM on November 13, 2009


Apparently George Bernard Shaw described apostrophes as "uncouth bacilli," so although the improper use of them irritates me, I'm not going to lose sleep if one is missing or used inappropriately.
posted by blucevalo at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2009


I haven't even finished and I found a mistake, I think. In "90's fashion" the apostrophe indicates possession, not plurality.
posted by exogenous at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Would it be a copyright violation to print this out, wrap the printout around a baseball bat, and literally beat apostrophe cretins over the head with it?
posted by gurple at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I want a jelly bean hat...like Bob's.
posted by in the methow at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nice. It's missing the most common mistake of all -- possessive pronouns = no apostrophe.

How hard would it have been to include that???
posted by hippybear at 10:39 AM on November 13, 2009


aw, beaten by desjardin's...

Aha, another use of the apostrophe: sexy anticipation!
posted by rokusan at 10:39 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only way I remember it's vs its is by remembering that It's is a contraction of "it is."


I still fuck up it all the time tho. English, she is confusing.
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on November 13, 2009


Cool link, though I wish it would tackle the contentious (and often confusing) issue of adding an apostrophe after a possessive word ending with "Z.”
posted by tiger yang at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2009


I would like to summarize every joke in this thread (both those already posted and those yet to come):

LOOK I MISUSED AN APOSTROPHE ON PURPOSE
posted by shakespeherian at 10:45 AM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


In "90's fashion" the apostrophe indicates possession, not plurality.

What? No. It's shorthand for nineties. That is plural. (It should be '90s, where the apostrophe indicates a contraction of 1990s.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on November 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


His 2nd exception to "don't use apostrophes for plurals" is confusing:


Is it a number or abbreviation? For example:

90's fashion was a bit awkward.
Just say no to hammer pants.


Then do this:

I attended college in the
late '90s and early 2000s
.


Is he claiming that 90's is wrong? I think both 90's and 90s are standard usage, though I prefer the latter. Anyway, he's claiming that this is an EXCEPTION to the "don't use apostrophes for plurals" rule. So that means it's okay to write 90's. Okay, so what's the meaning of the lower part that's in bold, and why is it prefaced by "THEN do this," as if you SHOULDN'T use an apostrophe (e.g. 2000s).
posted by grumblebee at 10:46 AM on November 13, 2009


`
posted by blue_beetle at 10:48 AM on November 13, 2009


I'm always kind of semi amazed by the FPP's that are really just repostings of lifehacker articles or gizmodo pieces...although I guess they're eligible for "best of the web" just like anyone else is. I always kind of view them as sister sites though.
posted by TomMelee at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2009


LOOK I MISUSED AN APOSTROPHE ON PURPOSE

... but you did'nt.
posted by ODiV at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2009


I loved the source code on that page.
posted by joelf at 10:50 AM on November 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I haven't even finished and I found a mistake, I think. In "90's fashion" the apostrophe indicates possession, not plurality.


What? No. It's shorthand for nineties. That is plural.


It's both. '90s is plural, because there are a bunch of them ('91, '92, '93...). It's possessive because the '90s own fashion. Think womens' fashion or Fred's fashion.
posted by grumblebee at 10:51 AM on November 13, 2009


women's.
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nice. It's missing the most common mistake of all -- possessive pronouns = no apostrophe.

Well, it has a whole section on its vs. it's, which is the most common possessive pronoun mistake. I haven't seen anyone use her's, your's, or their's, although I imagine it does happen.
posted by brain_drain at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2009


I'm always kind of semi amazed by the FPP's that are really just repostings of lifehacker articles or gizmodo pieces...although I guess they're eligible for "best of the web" just like anyone else is. I always kind of view them as sister sites though.

I once started a Metatalk thread about this. Someone posted something that was also on boingboing, and several people railed at him: "Don't just post stuff that's on boingboing!"

The assumption was that everyone who reads MeFi also reads boingboing. At the time, I didn't read it, and even now I maybe glance at boingboing once or twice a month. So if it hadn't been cross-posted to Mefi, I probably wouldn't have seen it.

My question on Meta was whether or not MeFi users were expected to follow other high-end blogs. My memory is that the mods said "no."

Are you under the assumption that most people here read Lifehacker and gizmado? Maybe they do. I don't.

As you said, best of the web is best of the web.
posted by grumblebee at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


90's is uglier, its use is obviously confusing, it's not acceptable in most style guides

so let's stop using it.
posted by asfuller at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]




I came in here to talk about Fred's fashion but grumblebee beat me to it.
posted by item at 11:01 AM on November 13, 2009


It's the last rule which is the importantest: don't use one if you're not sure.

I think that aside from typos, a lot of people who misuse apostrophes are aware that they're not too clued up on their use. I took an adult class a couple of years ago which was basic English usage, with a whole lesson on apostrophes. Lots of the women there were like, "I always get these wrong, it's so hard to remember." I suppose they continue to use them because it's expected, but I wonder if not using them would gather as much ire from grammar pedants as using them wrongly seems to do. As exampled by the argument above, I just write "90s" because I don't know which is correct and it's easier than having to defend my choice. If everybody who knew they couldn't use apostrophes properly stopped today, we could probably kill the little buggers by 2012 and end our woes.
posted by Sova at 11:01 AM on November 13, 2009


Well, you could always talk about Fred's fahsion's Fall season's pants.
posted by grumblebee at 11:02 AM on November 13, 2009


It's possessive because the '90s own fashion. Think womens' fashion or Fred's fashion.

Whuh? No. The set of years in the recent past that start with 199 do not OWN anything.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:03 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen anyone use her's, your's, or their's, although I imagine it does happen.

Move to Eastern WA. You'll see enough of it to make your head spin. My favorite so far... Hi's. As in, hi's shirt. (No, not Hi from Hi & Lois owning a shirt. as in, generic he owns a shirt)
posted by hippybear at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2009


Damned prescriptivist's. The current standard is to throw apostrophe's around willy-nilly and no amount of carping from stick-in-the-mud's who cant accept that language evolves will keep plural apotrophe's off their lawn's. Grammar book's will just have to catch up.
posted by nowonmai at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2009


Here's what confuses me:

Is it John's and Betty's dog or John and Betty's dog?

And while we're talking punctuation, if I write...

John said, "Hello," and then he killed himself.

... I was taught to place the second comma INSIDE the quotation marks. (I'm American; I think there's a different accepted-style in Europe.)

But what it it's...

John asked, "Where's my shoe?" and then he killed himself.

Should I do this: ...shoe?",

Should I omit the comma?

Surely this is wrong: ...shoe?,"

Oh, one more thing. If a question has a colon in it, what should you do about the question mark?

Should I do this: ...shoe", ?
Should I do this?: ...shoe",
Should I do this:? ...shoe",
Should I do this: ...shoe",

Or should I just not use colons in questions?

Should I do this? ...shoe",
posted by grumblebee at 11:10 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you wants to write modern novellength fiction well just go ahead and ignore all those writing rules theyre for chumps anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2009


A handy guide which the part of my brain responsible for just charging in with the wrong usage will no doubt ignore.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on November 13, 2009


Well then Fido got up off the floor, and he rolled over
And he looked me straight in the eye.
And you know what he said?
Once upon a time, somebody say to me
(This is a dog talkin' now)
What is your conceptual continuity?
Well I told him right then (Fido said)
It should be easy to see
The crux of the biscuit is the Apostrophe
Well you know
posted by Floydd at 11:16 AM on November 13, 2009


Artw!
posted by dersins at 11:17 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lastly, when in doubt DON'T use an apostrophe.

I'm not sure, but I think that should be DONT use an apostrophe.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:17 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's why apostrophes are so important:

I once knew a guy who was so short, everyone called him Three Feet. He was proud of the nickname and adopted it, signing his letters 3'.

One day, I got invited to 3''s birthday party. But when I showed up, I was embarrassed to see that my friend wasn't there. It was actually his cousin's party, and the sweater I'd bought for 3' was way too big for the actual birthday boy. You see, 3''s cousin was even smaller than 3'. Everyone called HIM Three Inches. He signed his name 3''. In the original invitation, he had accidentally forgotten the possessive apostrophe. It should have said 3'''s party.
posted by grumblebee at 11:21 AM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


grumblebee - a good rule of thumb is that punctuation marks like .,?! don't stack on top of each other - the most emphatic one eats the lesser ones. The same goes for colons - if you want to use a punctuation mark, get rid of the colon.

So
John asked, "Where's my shoe?" and then he killed himself.
is technically correct although a bit awkward.

In the US, punctuation at the end of a quote always goes inside the quotation marks. I don't particularly like this rule and neither do the editors at the game show Jeopardy. So the American rule says you should write
Did John state, "My shoe is here?"
But I prefer
Did John state, "My shoe is here"?
Or better yet, rewrite the whole thing to get rid of the ambiguity.
posted by muddgirl at 11:22 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course I ignored the interrobang ?!, which is rightly a single punctuation mark and not two separate ones.
posted by muddgirl at 11:24 AM on November 13, 2009


It's stupidly hard to correctly type the word "its" on an iPhone. Auto-correct assumes I wanted "it's" every time. But I am smarterer than my smartphone: I type "tits" and then go back and delete the first "t".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:25 AM on November 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Of course I ignored the interrobang


posted by dersins at 11:26 AM on November 13, 2009


Once upon a time there was a tattoo parlor named Brooklyn Tattoo's.
They went out of business before I could get a photo of the sign.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:33 AM on November 13, 2009


> Is he claiming that 90's is wrong?

He is indeed, and he is correct (in copyediting/proofreading/style guide terms, which are the only relevant ones here). The only correct form is '90s.
posted by languagehat at 11:35 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


grumblebee, that sounds more like a good reason to switch to metric
posted by exogenous at 11:36 AM on November 13, 2009


Judas served as treasurer which meant he carried the money bag. John tells us that he was also dishonest and that he often stole money out of the bag whenever he wanted it.
(John. 12:1-6)

Wait, apostrophe? I thought you said apostle fee!
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:36 AM on November 13, 2009


Also, it's spreading to Spanish!
posted by languagehat at 11:37 AM on November 13, 2009


Thanks muddgirl.

How would you punctuate this?

My favorite phrases are "Where's the beef?", "Brother, can you spare a dime?" and "What's your rank and serial number?".

I assume you'd leave off the period at the end. But it seems odd to omit the series comma between the first two items:

My favorite phrases are "Where's the beef?" "Brother, can you spare a dime?" and "What's your rank and serial number?"

Here's another complex one I've encountered:

You know that line "To be or not to be"? What if "to be or not to be"'s third word was "and" instead of "or"?

Is that how you'd make "to be or not to be" possessive?

Finally, in the above example, where would you place the two question marks outside of the quotes (...be"? and "or"?) like I did? I know that American punctuation is supposed to go inside the quotes, but that seems odd when what's quoted is not a question, e.g "to be or not to be." It's especially troubling if there is punctuation that is part of the quote -- but the quote itself appears in a question:

Do you think they should have omitted that exclamation mark at the end of "Oklahoma!"?
posted by grumblebee at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2009


I once knew a guy who was so short, everyone called him Three Feet. He was proud of the nickname and adopted it, signing his letters 3'.

The problem may have been avoided if he had correctly used primes to indicate feet and inches.
posted by tepidmonkey at 11:39 AM on November 13, 2009


Once upon a time there was a tattoo parlor named Brooklyn Tattoo's.
They went out of business before I could get a photo of the sign.


Too bad you didn't get a shot of Brooklyn Tattoo's's sign.
posted by grumblebee at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2009


He is indeed

Then why has he listed it under the heading of EXCEPTIONS to the rule against using apostrophes for plurals?
posted by grumblebee at 11:41 AM on November 13, 2009


John asked, "Where's my shoe?" and then he killed himself.

The and is unnecessary. Instead of linking two unrelated sentences with an awkwardly-placed and, simply keep them separate:

John asked, "Where's my shoe?" Then he killed himself.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:42 AM on November 13, 2009


Grumblebee - rewrite rewrite rewrite! Never try to force an inanimate object like a phrase to have a possession, and you won't have a problem.
You know that like "To be or not to be"? What if the third word was "and" instead of "or"?
I think you might be getting confused because commas serve a couple different purposes - 1) to indicate change in clauses inside a sentence (ie, a break) and 2) to delineate items in a list.
posted by muddgirl at 11:44 AM on November 13, 2009


Also, grammar should not be the boss of comprehensive writing.
posted by muddgirl at 11:45 AM on November 13, 2009


Comprehensible. Grammer should not be the boss of comprehensible writing, but rather the servant.
posted by muddgirl at 11:46 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, I agree, but I was wondering about the punctuation. It is perfectly reasonable to SAY, in casual conversation, "John asked, 'Where's my shoe?' and then he killed himself." If you had to transcribe such a conversation, how would you punctuate it?

Assume the same thing for my other punctuation questions (if you care about them). It's cheating to say, "rewrite the sentence." It's something someone said, and your job is to transcribe it verbatim using the best punctuation possible.
posted by grumblebee at 11:46 AM on November 13, 2009


muddgirl, I agree with you about rewriting, but see my above comment. I am asking more for fun than as a serious writing issue. But I can imagine it coming up, e.g. for a court reporter or someone putting a real-life dialogue in a book.
posted by grumblebee at 11:48 AM on November 13, 2009


You know that like "To be or not to be"?

So if the question mark is not actually part of the quote, it can go outside?
posted by grumblebee at 11:49 AM on November 13, 2009


Not traditionally, but like I said above, I disagree with the American rule.
posted by muddgirl at 11:52 AM on November 13, 2009


Is it John's and Betty's dog or John and Betty's dog?

I say "John's and Betty's," but I'm not a punctuation expert.

I have a friend who always says, "John and I's" when referring to things she owns with her spouse. For example, she'd say, "John and I's cat has special needs." It drives me nuts, but I guess saying "John's and my" is awkward. I usually avoid the whole mess by assuming that when I say "our," people know I'm referring to myself and my family.
posted by lexicakes at 11:53 AM on November 13, 2009


It's stupidly hard to correctly type the word "its" on an iPhone. Auto-correct assumes I wanted "it's" every time. But I am smarterer than my smartphone: I type "tits" and then go back and delete the first "t".

That's exactly the opposite of my experience. Tits always make me stoopid.
posted by rokusan at 11:54 AM on November 13, 2009


grumblebee: In that case, either omit the question mark or italicize the quotation instead of punctuating it.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:57 AM on November 13, 2009


Is it John's and Betty's dog or John and Betty's dog?

The latter. The only time you use "John's and Betty's" is if you're talking about multiple things with multiple discrete owners.

John and Betty's dogs = some dogs owned by John and Betty.
John's and Betty's dogs = some dogs owned by John, and some dogs owned by Betty.

As for punctuation inside/outside quotation marks... it's a headache-inducing style choice that varies widely between publication and nation. I don't even bother trying to get it right for any particular thing anymore, because everyone has their own rules: I either look it up in the appropriate style guide each time, or leave it for an editor to correct.

So for your own writing, all that matters on that one is to make your choice and be consistent thereafter.
posted by rokusan at 11:58 AM on November 13, 2009


And transcribing speech is exactly the point where you start to throw out rules of proper written grammar. Heck, if I was transcribing someone talking, I'd throw out quotation marks altogether and treat any quotes like clauses with dashes or commas.
posted by muddgirl at 12:00 PM on November 13, 2009


If you use apos'trophes el'sewhere thin'gs look l'ike Kli'ngon.

DON"T TELL ME I"M WRONG!
posted by mazola at 12:01 PM on November 13, 2009


A million and one grocers just collectively .... missed this post. Argh.
posted by heyho at 12:09 PM on November 13, 2009


Muddgirl, there are some interesting papers out there on how some reporters and editors will "clean up" the quotes of some speakers but not others, and in leaving some quotes "dirty", manage to make their chosen targets look foolish.
When asked about the comment, Muddgirl responded that she wished "to not go any further into that matter right now." When asked for meta-comment himself, Rokusan said "Um, well... ya know, I don't wanna do that."
I wish I could find the study I last read on this, but nothing is coming quickly to my mouse. It's an easy phenomenon to spot, though, once you start looking.
posted by rokusan at 12:11 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, grammar should not be the boss of comprehensive writing.
posted by muddgirl

Comprehensible. Grammer should not be the boss of comprehensible writing...
posted by muddgirl


Grammer ain't the boss anymore. He was replaced.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:17 PM on November 13, 2009


Seen on usenet a while back:

Contrary to popular opinion, an apostrophe is not a warning sign saying "look out, here comes an S!".
posted by the duck by the oboe at 12:18 PM on November 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


Doublety fuck.

Does anyone have that problem where their brain knows how to spell a word right but it still gets typed wrong? I do that all the time with its/it's - I know which one is right but if I don't think about each and every one, the apostrophe will always get added.
posted by muddgirl at 12:21 PM on November 13, 2009


Yes! That happens to me all the time -- every time -- with "accommodate" and its variants. I actually typed it wrong just now and had to correct it. My spelling accuracy is generally 100% except for this stupid word. I have no idea why it trips me up.
posted by brain_drain at 12:30 PM on November 13, 2009


One use of apostrophe that is over-corrected by the grocer-apostrophe haters: the apostrophe when pluralizing acronyms. The famous bob the angry flower strip, for example, gets this wrong. CD's should have an apostrophe, as should VCR's in the bob comic.
posted by idiopath at 12:49 PM on November 13, 2009


Actually, amending my above comment: CDs and VCRs get no apostrophe, C.D.'s and V.C.R.'s and CMS's would.
posted by idiopath at 12:56 PM on November 13, 2009


John asked, "Where's my shoe?" and then he killed himself.

Should I do this: ...shoe?",

Should I omit the comma?


Styles differ, but I think the prevailing rule is that when two punctuation marks would otherwise appear together, the "weaker" is omitted. So if the embedded sentence is a question or an exclamation, that punctuation mark is used, but a declarative sentence will keep the comma to clarify that the containing sentence hasn't ended.
posted by Epenthesis at 1:10 PM on November 13, 2009


As you said, best of the web is best of the web.

And this is that? C'mon. It's already been done a million times.

Muddgirl, there are some interesting papers out there on how some reporters and editors will "clean up" the quotes of some speakers but not others, and in leaving some quotes "dirty", manage to make their chosen targets look foolish.

Yes, there was an interesting article about the use of "sic" in newspapers to make specific people look bad. I can't remember where I read it.

What "[sic]" says to the reader is something like "I will condescend to quote this grotty little wretch, but I will also take the trouble to point the finger at all the shabby marks of his inadequate education so that you can share in my contempt for him and sense of superiority about myself."
posted by mrgrimm at 1:17 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is perfectly reasonable to SAY, in casual conversation, "John asked, 'Where's my shoe?' and then he killed himself."

There goes grumblebee again, all casual about John's footwear-related suicide. YOU WEREN'T THERE, MAN!

Here's the one that really bugs me - though grumblebee's questions constantly stymie me as well:

Where I was brought up it was perfectly okay to crontract the word "have," as in could've, would've, and should've. I understand this is not the case in all areas, and somewhat bizarrely, Firefox gives "would've" a pass while noting the other two as incorrect, but whatever.

My thing is, taking Firefox's word for it that at least "would've" is okay, I want "wouldn't've" to work as well. After all, that's the way I say it and no one bats an eye.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:25 PM on November 13, 2009


ASSPOSTROPHE AMIRITE
posted by davejay at 1:51 PM on November 13, 2009


My thing is, taking Firefox's word for it that at least "would've" is okay, I want "wouldn't've" to work as well.

Personally, I think those are less contractions than alternate pronunciations of "have" as "of," as in "could of" or "would of."

But if you're writing dialogue, for me, all rules are off. (Context is key, but) I think it's more important to convey inflection and dialect in dialogue.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2009


as in "could of" or "would of."

When I see people write that, my teeth start to hurt.

Then I realize I'm clenching my jaw.
posted by rokusan at 2:13 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


> So if the question mark is not actually part of the quote, it can go outside?

Yes. American style is that periods and commas automatically go inside; otherwise it depends on the function of the punctuation.
posted by languagehat at 2:21 PM on November 13, 2009


If you use apos'trophes el'sewhere thin'gs look l'ike Kli'ngon.

Okay, I (vaguely) know that Klingon has actually been worked into a "real" language, so maybe what I'm about to say doesn't apply to it.

But what's the deal with apostrophes and sci-fi/fantasy names?

All these books and stories have people (or aliens or whatever) named Ga'ling and Fat'ung and Ab'no'gu'lap. What is it supposed to mean? Are we supposed to believe that in the actual alien language, there's a formal version that's aboonottguyoyoyolap and the alien hero is using a contraction? Is it supposed to indicate some sort of gutteral tick, as in Ga--RRRRAR-ling? Or is it just "Hey, look! A weird-ass looking name! Must from a different planet!"

It always confuses me, because I assume the name isn't actually spelled Ur'plat. I mean, the alien doesn't use English letters on his own planet. So Ur'plat is a translation or a phonetic spelling for the benefit of English readers. In that case, why not just spell it Urplat? My mind sees those random apostrophes and doesn't know what to do with them.

At which point -- because I'm anal -- I stop reading the story, because the apostrophes are all I can think about. It's like how I can't read comic books because of all the words that are in bold face for no discernible reason.
posted by grumblebee at 2:54 PM on November 13, 2009


I stop reading the story, because the apostrophes are all I can think about. It's like how I can't read comic books because of all the words that are in bold face for no discernible reason.

Boldface in comics should be used to convey emphasis and be sparing. This is sadly not usually the case.
posted by The Whelk at 2:58 PM on November 13, 2009


grumblebee: "But what's the deal with apostrophes and sci-fi/fantasy names?"

I think it is the same way apostrophes are used in transliterated arabic - as a boundary for morphemes.
posted by idiopath at 3:01 PM on November 13, 2009


All these books and stories have people (or aliens or whatever) named Ga'ling and Fat'ung and Ab'no'gu'lap. What is it supposed to mean? Are we supposed to believe that in the actual alien language, there's a formal version that's aboonottguyoyoyolap and the alien hero is using a contraction? Is it supposed to indicate some sort of gutteral tick, as in Ga--RRRRAR-ling? Or is it just "Hey, look! A weird-ass looking name! Must from a different planet!"

That's not an apostrophe.

posted by Sys Rq at 3:03 PM on November 13, 2009


bobby'drop tablesanous.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on November 13, 2009


Sys Rq: I really think it is being used as a morpheme separator. That is how it works in terms of pronunciation in English much of the time as well, if it is in the middle of a world, as in O'Hara or contractions like ca'nt or wo'nt where multiple letters are elided but the apostrophe marks the morpheme boundary.
posted by idiopath at 3:14 PM on November 13, 2009


ca'nt or wo'nt

um.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:19 PM on November 13, 2009


Thod Dr'gonf'cker.
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on November 13, 2009


A very bizarre error, I admit.
posted by idiopath at 3:21 PM on November 13, 2009


I just re-read Cormac McCarthys The Road, and I dont think theres a single apostrophe in the whole thing. There arent any quotation marks, either. He also likes to make compound words like livingroom.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2009


Ah, morpheme boundaries. I hadn't thought of that! Thanks.

Now I'll get my second officer, Ya'yee'ee, to help me navigate the ship away from this morpheme boundary!
posted by grumblebee at 3:48 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's why Cormac McCarthy is a literary genius and not, as one might suspect, a Crime and Science Fiction writer.
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia cite for usage of apostrophe in transliteration.
posted by idiopath at 3:56 PM on November 13, 2009


Don't forget Westerns, Artw.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:07 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I could wake up tomorrow in a world without apostrophes and be perfectly happy.

This includes the Zappa album.
posted by ovvl at 4:12 PM on November 13, 2009


grumblebee, if you want a more anal-retentive, historically accurate, in-depth kinda comic book, may I suggest Jason Lute's "Berlin"? I wrote a review for it here and skimming the copy on my desk, I only see one boldface and that's when someone is screaming.
posted by The Whelk at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2009


John and Betty's dogs = some dogs owned by John and Betty.

Seems ambiguous. Does it mean John and the dogs owned by Betty or the dogs owned by both John and Betty?
posted by Green With You at 6:19 PM on November 13, 2009


if 1 more person missuses an apostrophe, im gonna loose it
posted by fungible at 6:46 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


STARBUCKS' COFFEE
posted by Artw at 7:32 PM on November 13, 2009


Ohhhhh... If you want it to be possessive,
It's just "I-T-S."
But if it's supposed to be a contraction,
Then it's "I-T-apostrophe-S,"
Scalawag.
posted by straight at 7:45 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


if 1 more person missuses an apostrophe, im gonna loose it

u mispelt appostrofy i hope u no
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 PM on November 13, 2009


The AngryFlower explanations mentioned above are far too wordy.

I always use this one.
posted by intermod at 10:01 PM on November 13, 2009


Its been a long thread, intermod, but Bob's Quick Guide was worth the wait.

No, wait...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:45 AM on November 14, 2009


Too late to join this conversation, but oh well...

I prefer
Did John state, "My shoe is here"?


You're in luck, because your version is correct according to American style. I've never heard of the rule you cite that always places the question mark inside the quotes. See here, here, here for a few examples of sources that say that question marks are placed according to logic. Did John state, "My shoe is here?" looks absurd and is definitely not okay according to U.S. style. (Our commas and periods probably look absurd, too, to non-American readers, but I just wanted to note we have limits to our illogical punctuation.)
posted by torticat at 7:35 AM on November 14, 2009


so this is why my ears were burning yesterday.
posted by apostrophe at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2009


I'm with Navelgazer. I routinely use use words like "couldn't've" or "to've" (it was a pleasure to've met you") or "I'd've" ("I missed you at X. I'd've loved to have chatted you up about Y/shown you my Z"), but I think it's because I can't (or shouldn't, more precisely) use contractions at work, which involves legal writing (e.g.briefs, motions, correspondence). Contractions are too informal where I do 99% of my writing so I contract THE SHIT out of everything else. The german in me makes compound words like Cormac. Whynot (as long as it's meaning is conveyed properly)? At present, I am enjoying laptoptime.
posted by Jezebella at 3:34 PM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs update for Australia: youse, you's, you'se.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:13 PM on November 14, 2009


BitterOldPunk: "It's stupidly hard to correctly type the word "its" on an iPhone. Auto-correct assumes I wanted "it's" every time. But I am smarterer than my smartphone: I type "tits" and then go back and delete the first "t"."

A simpler method; to cancel the iPhone's auto-complete feature, you just have "squish" (or tap on) tits suggestion.
posted by pedmands at 9:17 PM on November 15, 2009


« Older Unclaimed land   |   Russell Jones, aka The Ol'... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post