The apostrophe, please read

2

Comments

  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    mrfpb said:

    Its as a possesive shurly should be it's

    If the language itself is so inconsistent, why bother getting it right?

    "its" is already possessive, no need to make it possessive, don't be ridiculous

    left the forum March 2023
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,254

    mrfpb said:

    Its as a possesive shurly should be it's

    If the language itself is so inconsistent, why bother getting it right?

    "its" is already possessive, no need to make it possessive, don't be ridiculous

    I'm not sure you understand your own post.
  • jimmyjams
    jimmyjams Posts: 706

    There's a Portuguese novelist... what's his name... Saramago! He doesn't use punctuation
    Not that I expect anyone on here to have read anything other than Harry Potter... ;)


    I had to look Saramago up, however as alternate, some of us know Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy – over 20,000 words and just 1 or 2 commas or full stops.
  • jimmyjams
    jimmyjams Posts: 706
    The apostrophe rule about contractions must surely mean a greengrocer's sign* like this (no matter how irritating some of us may find it) is actually therefore okay:

    Tomato's, £1.78 per kg

    * An interesting(?) difference: I've written 'a greengrocer's sign' above. If that were in German, and I wanted to speak of a greengrocer's signs (i.e. more than one), I would omit the apostrophe, just have the 's'. The apostrophe is only used for possession in German when the possessed item is singular.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    edited July 2021
    jimmyjams said:

    The apostrophe rule about contractions must surely mean a greengrocer's sign* like this (no matter how irritating some of us may find it) is actually therefore okay:

    Tomato's, £1.78 per kg

    * An interesting(?) difference: I've written 'a greengrocer's sign' above. If that were in German, and I wanted to speak of a greengrocer's signs (i.e. more than one), I would omit the apostrophe, just have the 's'. The apostrophe is only used for possession in German when the possessed item is singular.

    Much more down to earth, it is depressing to see how many can't distinguish between "it's" as a contraction of It is and "its" as possessive... or worse you're from your...

    When I have to mark students' work, I can't knock them for grammar, so I generally ask them to resubmit something legible.
    left the forum March 2023
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,254


    Much more down to earth, it is depressing to see how many can't distinguish between "it's" as a contraction of It is and "its" as possessive... or worse you're from your...

    They just applied the rule you have been beating them with.

    The apostrophe has two functions: it marks possession, and it is used in contractions to indicate the place where the letters have been omitted.

    That's it

  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,977
    *Old fart mode activated*
    The students on my University courses almost all had English GCSE at grade A, before achieving very high A levels in sciences. Very few of them had any recollection of how to use apostrophes.
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    jimmyjams said:

    There's a Portuguese novelist... what's his name... Saramago! He doesn't use punctuation
    Not that I expect anyone on here to have read anything other than Harry Potter... ;)


    I had to look Saramago up, however as alternate, some of us know Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy – over 20,000 words and just 1 or 2 commas or full stops.
    Kerouak's "On The Road" was originally written in one sitting as one piece with no paragraphs, etc.
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,813
    I'm wondering how many times Ugo is having to re-read every post now to make sure he doesn't make an error with punctuation.

    It's never a good idea to start a thread like this.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,165
    Press is quite right, Ugo's made a rod for his own back. But I agree with his general point, apostrophes added to plurals irks me somewhat. Should that be apostrophe's added to plural's?
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    Once I commented to a student that we could have done a trade... a bag of apostrophes in return for a bag of commas, as he was very shy with the latter!
    left the forum March 2023
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,303
    mrfpb said:

    Its as a possesive shurly should be it's

    If the language itself is so inconsistent, why bother getting it right?


    Yours is a very fair question. ;)

    In speech you can't hear apostrophes, but the advantage of the written word is that delivery and comprehension can be far far quicker if the conventions are adhered to. And yes, some of those are inconsistent (his, hers), but generally what we've ended up with is the least worst compromise, inconsistencies 'n' all.
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,977

    Once I commented to a student that we could have done a trade... a bag of apostrophes in return for a bag of commas, as he was very shy with the latter!

    .

    I have advised some students to stop using apostrophes altogether, because they would get it right much more often.

    Don’t get me started on commas (where they go, rather than the number).

    I am aware that I over-use parentheses (or maybe I mean brackets).

  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,977
    Where are you on Woden’s day, Thor’s day etc., Ugo?
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    It had an apostophe, it was it's apostrophe. The It has to become possesive, therefore requires and apostrophe (using the rules applied to other nouns)
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    Mad_Malx said:

    Where are you on Woden’s day, Thor’s day etc., Ugo?

    What???
    left the forum March 2023
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,303
    edited July 2021

    Mad_Malx said:

    Where are you on Woden’s day, Thor’s day etc., Ugo?

    What???
    I'm guessing that they are examples of where apostrophes have disappeared, and yet the world keeps turning.
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,977

    Mad_Malx said:

    Where are you on Woden’s day, Thor’s day etc., Ugo?

    What???
    I'm guessing that they are examples of where apostrophes have disappeared, and yet the world keeps turning.
    That’s much better put than I would have managed.
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,977
    This thread prompted me to look up the origin.
    The explanation appears to be that the original possessive form was “...es” , and the modern “ ‘s “ is also a contraction. Cf. Ugo’s and Ugoes. Unfortunately with modern keyboards it actually requires more key strokes than the original.
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,977
    ^which also explains the spelling of Wednesday.
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078

    There's a Portuguese novelist... what's his name... Saramago! He doesn't use punctuation
    Not that I expect anyone on here to have read anything other than Harry Potter... ;)

    No, he was the baddie in The Man with the Golden Gun.
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  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,707
    edited July 2021

    mrfpb said:

    Its as a possesive shurly should be it's

    If the language itself is so inconsistent, why bother getting it right?

    "its" is already possessive, no need to make it possessive, don't be ridiculous


    I'm probably missing something here but its (possessive without an apostrophe) is just an exception to the rule to distinguish it from it's (it is).

    Unless I suppose you consider it a pronoun like his ?

    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,707
    Googled it - seems it used to be it's but changed a couple of hundred years ago to bring it into line with other possessive pronouns, like Ugo said.

    I used to share an office with some guy who was a grammar nut - I probably should have listened to him.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • darkhairedlord
    darkhairedlord Posts: 7,180

    Mad_Malx said:

    Where are you on Woden’s day, Thor’s day etc., Ugo?

    What???
    Can you squeeze another question mark in there?
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    The?re.

    That looks odd though.!!!
  • darkhairedlord
    darkhairedlord Posts: 7,180
    morstar said:

    The?re.

    That looks odd though.!!!

    .!!!
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,254
    Overuse of ellipses is another problem some suffer from...
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190

    morstar said:

    The?re.

    That looks odd though.!!!

    .!!!
    yeP’?
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 39,813

    Overuse of ellipses is another problem some suffer from...

    Is that an ellipses? The definition I looked up, as I wasn't sure what one was, says they should be separate by a fullstop but that looks odd. Discuss . . .
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 17,303
    Pross said:

    Overuse of ellipses is another problem some suffer from...

    Is that an ellipses? The definition I looked up, as I wasn't sure what one was, says they should be separate by a fullstop but that looks odd. Discuss . . .

    Since pedantry is where it's at here, that should be "an ellipsis" ;)