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Posts Tagged ‘Apostrophes’

Dear readers (and, I hope, fellow lovers of language):

I need a break from the 2016 election.

Let’s talk about the serial comma (also called the Oxford comma) for a moment. We’ve all seen the following to advocate for its use:
why-use-the-serial-comma

But here’s the thing: I would use a colon to clarify if I really meant that JFK and Stalin had side jobs. My sentence would read:

We invited the strippers: JFK and Stalin.

If I meant that JFK, Stalin and some ladies working their way through college were all coming to the party, I would write:

We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers.

I’m a fan of improving clarity by rewriting. No need to overwork the comma and use it for a simple series.

However, we cannot give the comma a gold watch and say goodbye. We still need it. And some people certainly appreciate it. (Read this from the bottom up.)

Email courtesy of 36-hour Tina

Email courtesy of 36-hour Tina

 

We also need articles or bad things happen.

 

Image courtesy of Shane Marshall Brown

Image courtesy of Shane Marshall Brown

A “the” before “pen” would have made all the difference. (Or even a bigger space before “is.”)

What we don’t need is random quotation marks — not even one random quotation mark, as seen in the photo below. (By the way, quotation marks come in pairs. That’s how they work. But if the signmaker had added another, we’d be wondering what the dogs are actually doing.)

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Image courtesy of Angela DeVore

Please send me your sign/email/meme fails in the comments or via Twitter (@BethCon5). I think we all will be needing more election breaks over the next 45 days.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Apostrophe:

You really need a vacation. You clearly are overworked. I’ve lost track of all the times you’ve had to show up unnecessarily on a sign.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

"Sunday's"

I guess the sign’s writer thought the S would be lonely without you. You and I both know that the letter can get by on its own. No need to call you in.

I wish you could assert yourself. Just say “no” to incorrect possessives. I wish I could do something to help beyond calling attention to your situation with this blog.

Take some of your friends — the quotation marks for example — and run away for a while to rest up. They need a vacation too:

There's more wrong here than just quotation mark overuse. (Photo courtesy of Karla Knudsen)

There’s more wrong here than just quotation mark overuse. (Photo courtesy of Karla Knudsen)

I hear the Maici River in Brazil is lovely this time of year. You’d get a welcome respite among the Pirahã.

Just know I’ll only request you in an emergency. You know, one of the following situations: showing possession (“Is that Gideon’s dirty sock?”),  making contractions (“No, it’s Dominic’s dirty sock.”), and indicating when a letter is deliberately left out (“Did Eddie just call me a dirty ol’ ‘ho’?”). And you never have to worry that I’ll mistake you for your doppelgänger, the single quotation mark.

Wishing you a happy vacation,
Beth

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Let’s take a break from the sideshow that is politics, and enjoy a slideshow of textual assaults.

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About 400 people have linked, emailed, tweeted or otherwise made me aware of this cartoon:

I love the cartoon, and I love that people thought (think) of me when they saw (see) it.

(That’s indeed how I feel on a regular basis.)

While most of my friends and family know me as the grammar guru, the Internet thinks I’m a different kind of freak. Just look at the search terms people used that led them to my blog.

Finding me via “parasites” and other such terms makes sense because of my “Procrastination by parasite” post.

And “rednecks” also makes sense because of my frequent posts about the “Redneck Games.”

“Butterfly McQueen” and “antithesis” led searchers to posts about rhetorical devices.

I can even explain “std in the mouth” because I admitted in the procrastination post that my leap into the information vortex includes viewing images of “STD outbreaks” and “meth mouth.”

The last term is inexplicable on many levels: Who uses “inhumans wallpaper” as a search term? Why did the search engine pick me? What did searchers really want?

Not someone who likes to talk about grammar, for sure.

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Cracker Barrel is to me is like catnip is to our cat Reggie (who seems to have left us for a neighbor). I cannot get enough of the Sunday homestyle chicken with a side of dumplings. Before entering the Starch Consumption Plaza, though, guests have to navigate the maze of rooster quilts, Oak Ridge Boys CDs and ceramic birdhouses. I can’t ever get past the “Good Old Days” food section. (Cracker Barrel calls this the “assortment of nostalgic and classic products that evoke memories of the way things used to be.”)

While I have been known to plunk down the debit card for chocolate mints and Jordan almonds, I usually pay more attention to the packaging of other consumables. I want to help the people who create these labels.

Shouldn't "old-fashioned" be the adjective here?

Besides the fact that I hate the ampersand, "tips" doesn't sound like anything tasty.

The soda isn't possessing anything. Lose the apostrophe!

Again, no apostrophe needed as there is no possession in place.

Cracker Barrel isn’t the only restaurant with advertising issues, though.

I don't want to jump into these items. I'm not sure I even want to eat anything that is "twisted."

Am I the only one who pays attention to things like this? Clearly not. Here’s something from my friend Shane Marshall Brown.

What the HECK is going on with the "Tatamagouche" and "Hurricane Harbor" entries?

 

SIGH.

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This person needs a "tutor" for English too. Or maybe he DOES want a member of 16th-century English royalty.

I'd rather have an "omelet" or an "omelette."

"Eat of it," meaning the animals will just sample whatever someone tosses in? They are more likely to eat the whole darn thing.

Belk's sign maker needs a crash course in possessives.

No mistake here. I just want to let you know that Zumba is apparently not allowed.

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Mike Judge is starting to look more and more like Nostradamus; his “Idiocracy” is akin to “The Prophecies.”

You need evidence that we live in a society that is shunning intellectual curiosity and social responsibility? You must not have watched any of the debt debates.

There are other signs all around of our declining intellectual ability. Literally.

Here’s one offered by my friend Lisa, who was mortified to find this at her son’s school:

God forbid the "parnet's" forget eggs on "Wesdnesday." That might be the day they also learn about spelling and apostrophe usage.

Royce provided this selection from the Savannah Morning News:

Maybe a "cachier" is a new term for someone who helps with a cache of coupons.

I saw this during my recent jaunt to Jacksonville:

I wonder if the new ownership will extend care to people of other faiths too.

Karla was amused by this entry in a cabin’s guest book:

It's clear they don't quite have a handle on our "human words." Ah, the intricacies of adverbs, adjectives and verbs.

And finally, from Elyse, here is evidence of a desperate attempt to sound important — an attempt office workers see on a regular basis:

Somewhere the word "use" is weeping quietly.

Sigh.

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