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BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves

GUEST,saulgoldie 28 Nov 05 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 28 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM
MMario 28 Nov 05 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,HughM 28 Nov 05 - 03:59 PM
MMario 28 Nov 05 - 04:09 PM
jeffp 28 Nov 05 - 04:31 PM
Bainbo 28 Nov 05 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,ivor 28 Nov 05 - 06:02 PM
greg stephens 28 Nov 05 - 06:16 PM
GUEST 28 Nov 05 - 06:22 PM
GUEST 28 Nov 05 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,ivor 28 Nov 05 - 06:34 PM
Jeri 28 Nov 05 - 06:36 PM
Jeri 28 Nov 05 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,ivor 28 Nov 05 - 07:27 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 28 Nov 05 - 07:36 PM
Jeri 28 Nov 05 - 07:43 PM
GUEST 28 Nov 05 - 08:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Nov 05 - 08:13 PM
Kaleea 28 Nov 05 - 08:18 PM
Kaleea 28 Nov 05 - 08:24 PM
SharonA 28 Nov 05 - 08:29 PM
TheBigPinkLad 28 Nov 05 - 09:10 PM
GUEST 28 Nov 05 - 09:12 PM
Don Firth 28 Nov 05 - 10:41 PM
HuwG 28 Nov 05 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,Wanderer 28 Nov 05 - 11:45 PM
open mike 29 Nov 05 - 12:15 AM
Deda 29 Nov 05 - 12:32 AM
Paul Burke 29 Nov 05 - 04:26 AM
GUEST 29 Nov 05 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,ivor 29 Nov 05 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,neovo 29 Nov 05 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Dáithí Ó Geanainn 29 Nov 05 - 07:50 AM
Seiri Omaar 29 Nov 05 - 08:17 AM
GUEST 29 Nov 05 - 08:40 AM
artbrooks 29 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM
Paul Burke 29 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM
Snuffy 29 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM
Charmion 29 Nov 05 - 11:51 AM
Seiri Omaar 29 Nov 05 - 12:07 PM
s&r 29 Nov 05 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,saulgoldie 29 Nov 05 - 01:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 05 - 02:18 PM
Don Firth 29 Nov 05 - 02:20 PM
Seiri Omaar 29 Nov 05 - 03:13 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM
Joybell 29 Nov 05 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,ivor 29 Nov 05 - 04:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Nov 05 - 04:51 PM
artbrooks 29 Nov 05 - 05:07 PM
wordfella 29 Nov 05 - 06:20 PM
Georgiansilver 29 Nov 05 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Nov 05 - 06:40 PM
Georgiansilver 29 Nov 05 - 06:48 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 29 Nov 05 - 06:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Nov 05 - 08:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 05 - 09:19 PM
Don Firth 29 Nov 05 - 10:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 05 - 11:35 PM
Joybell 29 Nov 05 - 11:55 PM
Paul Burke 30 Nov 05 - 03:36 AM
Mo the caller 30 Nov 05 - 06:51 AM
wordfella 30 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM
Paco Rabanne 30 Nov 05 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,saulgoldie 30 Nov 05 - 12:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Nov 05 - 01:54 PM
Nigel Parsons 30 Nov 05 - 02:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Nov 05 - 05:57 PM
Deda 30 Nov 05 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Peter 30 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Nov 05 - 07:01 PM
Joybell 30 Nov 05 - 07:09 PM
SharonA 30 Nov 05 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Mr Happy 30 Nov 05 - 08:02 PM
wordfella 30 Nov 05 - 08:33 PM
HuwG 30 Nov 05 - 08:54 PM
Rapparee 30 Nov 05 - 09:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Nov 05 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,Mr Happy 01 Dec 05 - 07:19 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Dec 05 - 10:14 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Dec 05 - 07:38 PM
Tannywheeler 02 Dec 05 - 07:44 PM
Don Firth 02 Dec 05 - 08:11 PM
John MacKenzie 04 Dec 05 - 04:30 AM
autolycus 04 Dec 05 - 04:44 AM
RichardP 04 Dec 05 - 07:50 AM
kendall 04 Dec 05 - 07:53 AM
Nigel Parsons 04 Dec 05 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Auggie 04 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM
Dave the Gnome 05 Dec 05 - 09:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Dec 05 - 01:33 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 05 - 04:15 PM

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Subject: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 03:16 PM

For those who care about the language. Well, SOME of us do...

http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/ESLquiz.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM

Well, I got one wrong. More studying needed, I guess.

By the way, this is a WONDERFUL book! A great gift idea for anyone who values language. Last year I gave a copy to a relative of mine who is a writer, and he loved it!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: MMario
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 03:29 PM

I got all the comma ones correct, but the apostrophes defeated me. I cannot see how they were treating the plural posessive.

Why should kittens' coats be correct when we are now told that a trailing apostrophe is incorrect even for a possesive.

And why is it "yards' worth" ? That makes no sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 03:59 PM

If someone refers to "the kitten's paws" there is only one kitten. If it's "the kittens' paws" the reader knows that there are at least two kittens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: MMario
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 04:09 PM

I know that! What I am saying is that I have had proofreaders who insist that "kittens paws" is correct and that an apostrophe is unnecessary and un-gramatical when used with a simple plural.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: jeffp
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 04:31 PM

Those proofreaders are wrong. It happens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Bainbo
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 05:40 PM

Maybe it's an American thing. You guys have a way of streamlining the language, taking out extraneous letters so the spelling makes sense.

I agree with MMario, though. If I saw "kittens paws" I wouldn't know how many kittens were involved.

I came across exactly this situation while editing some text for publication. The writer had referred to "the rail operators 837 complaints." Rail deregulation here means several train companies may have services on the same piece of track. I didn't know whether he meant one or all of them - context didn't make it clear. That's why punctuation's important!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,ivor
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 06:02 PM

I'm more irritated by the greengrocer's apostrophe, as used even by mudcatters. For example, "His songs in the 70's were terrible."
Putting "70's" makes as little sense as saying,"I'm taking my book's to my room."
In both cases, we're talking simple plurals, which don't require that bloody apostrophe.
Where DO people get the habit from?

And I'm a bit fed up with all those unnecessary "up"s and "up with"s, as in "head up the team", "we met up with her at 10", never mind "upcoming" instead of "forthcoming".

Oh well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 06:16 PM

60's and 70's are well established usage by the most pedantic pedants. Sorry, but that's how it is. "60s" just looks ugly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 06:22 PM

70's looks better than 70s (which is a serial number) and is an allegory for " the decade of the years between 1970 and 1979 (& 365/365.25's)".

Apostrophe - now when is the possessive not an implied and when is the abbreviation not a posessive and what about it's its. I never could figure the mnemonic for those two, too. There ain't no logic - it just is.

Now what are the plural of data? (or modem come to think of it)
and why is opera a collection of songs wot we call individually an opus? Plural of opera is.............

It(?)s anarchy out there and language lives or we call it LATIN.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 06:30 PM

WithyouIvor!My new blood pressure raiser is " could of" instead of could've. The web's littered with it. What do teachers do these days?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,ivor
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 06:34 PM

To me, 70's looks (and is) wrong except in e.g."The 70's style of music is....).
To me, 70s looks no better or worse than books, both being simple plurals.
Incidentally, the 70s actually ran from 71- 80. perhaps that needs a NEW THREAD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 06:36 PM

It was "kittens coats". If one of them took another's coat, he should give it back.

Apostrophes may be used in plurals of numbers (as above) or in plurals of acronyms. "The DVD's are over there." Personally, I don't use them in plurals unless there's a problem with readability because they look silly.

I got one wrong, and I got it wrong because I thought, "Hmmm. I'd stick a comma there, but I'm probably wrong, and there IS no comma."


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 07:05 PM

You've got your millenia mixed up with your collections-of-years-starting-with-the-same-number.

The 70s include years that start with a 7 -- 70 - 79
The 7th decade of the 20th century inludes 1961 through 1970


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,ivor
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 07:27 PM

Won't thread-drift more than te say, cah, there was me thinking the 70s were a decade, in the terms you rightly lay down, the eighth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 07:36 PM

Read this tome several years ago. Found it to be a lot of fun. I believe that the author, who is British, did note some differences between American English and the other kind in the preface or introduction to the American publication. Bravo to Saul Goldie for starting this topic!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 07:43 PM

I often think of threads such as this as pedant-offs, this being the 2005 Smackdown. As King John from Hull might say if he were here, "This is a punctuation therad, not a numbr thred," so I'll stop.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 08:04 PM

"Could of instead of could've" beg to differ but" could have" I think!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 08:13 PM

Guest
Datum, pl. data

Opus, pl. opera; opuses also accepted in Webster's (U. S.). A Latin word.
Opera (e. g. Lohengrin). pl. operas (several Wagner operas will be performed). This is the Italian word.

An example of recent change- index, pl. indices; becoming obsolete, indexes preferred in current dictionaries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Kaleea
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 08:18 PM

Why is it that, when it comes to grammar, experts, for the most part, often disagree often, in a most distastful, disastrous way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Kaleea
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 08:24 PM

Whoops! I got a new keyboard which does not register as fast as I type. . When I hit "submit message," I saw that the e was left out of distasteful, and, I, evidently, missed an opportunity for a comma, in a rather peculiar potential place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: SharonA
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 08:29 PM

I believe that the proper punctuation of the aforementioned decade is '70s because it is a contraction of 1970s. I don't believe that the apostrophe should go between the 0 and the s because, if the word seventies is spelled out, it does not require an apostrophe. I suppose that the proper way of spelling it out should be 'seventies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 09:10 PM

There is no last word on grammar. That's why there are style guides.

"If you take hyphens seriously you shall surely go mad" - Churchill


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 09:12 PM

100% correct - I kiss by the book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 10:41 PM

I heard Lynne Truss in a radio interview a year or so ago, got her book from the library, read it, and straightaway bought a copy. It sits next to my copy of Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Funny lady. Explains the whats, whys, and wherefores of punctuation very clearly.

By the way, the plural of modem is modems. Simple as that. If it were Latin, i.e., "modum," then the plural would probably be "modi" (or "modae" if it were deemed feminine), but it isn't. It's computerese, a contraction made up of "modulator-demodulator."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: HuwG
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 11:30 PM

70's does appear to be contraction, and therefore missing elements ought to be represented by an apostrophe.

Even if this is not absolutely correct, it is usually obvious in everyday usage that we are referring to the decade between 1969 and 1980. It is tedious both to write and read "nineteen-seventies" everywhere. Even in more scholarly works, I believe only dedicated pedants would cavil at the usage e.g. "1670's".

I agree that 70s doesn't look quite right. Seventy shillings ? A gigantic pair of trousers with short inside leg ?

****

I take the view that, if someone thinks and communicates logically, minor slips of punctuation (or typographical errors) will not change or obscure the meaning of what is written. The sentence, "Eats, shoots and leaves" might be incorrect and even raise a titter; but where in the real world do pandas carry firearms ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Wanderer
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 11:45 PM

The use of the apostrophe to indicate a plural made with numbers (70's) is well established and is cvere din the Chicago Manual of Style. There is nothing improper about it.

The use of datums as a plural of datum is becoming acceptable in technical circles where a datum has specialized meaning, notably in map making and geographical information systems.

Wanderer


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: open mike
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 12:15 AM

my favorite sigtn is one by a country stor that says:
Truck's welcome.

One of my pet peeves is when people say "anyways"
when the "s" is not needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Deda
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 12:32 AM

In Latin, "modum" would probably be a (hypothetical) 2nd declension neuter noun, and the plural of modum would then be moda, just as the plural of datum is data. If it were masculine instead of neuter it would go to "-i" in the plural -- as in radius, radii.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 04:26 AM

ABOLISH POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHES!!!!

They are only in the language because some benighted pedant back in the 16th century took the possessive ending -s (exactly the same as in German, where they don't have this hangup) to be a contraction of "his". Lord Herries His Complaynt and all that.

Time to drop them. They add absolutely nothing to sense or clarity, we only cling to them because Miss Wright might hit us on the knuckles with a ruler if we skip them. If you get marginal cases where the meaning could be ambiguous, use an explaining phrase if it needs to be clarified. "The paws of the kittens" for example. except it's difficult to imagine a case where it would be essential to know if there was one kitten or more. And anyway it only works in writing, as we don't pronounce the apostrophe.

And it gets rid of all those conundra (oy!) like how to pronounce "Jones's".


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 05:34 AM

Guest ivor at 06.02 PM

Along with the 'ups', could we cut down on:

'in terms of' - usually you can remove the 'terms of', leaving a clearer meaning;

'set', as in 'the weather is set to get colder', 'interest rates are set to rise' - as if someone has set it all up and is just waiting for the right moment to push a button or fire a starting gun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,ivor
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:02 AM

Yeeees, SharonA., that's it. '70s is right, and people get to have an apostrophe.
I hope that is polite and friendly enough to satisfy anyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,neovo
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:42 AM

I was confused by the American spelling of "colour". Were we supposed to be punctuating for American or English English?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Dáithí Ó Geanainn
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 07:50 AM

I'm not sure that Paul Burke's story about possessive apostrophes is more than folklore.
The apostrophe in English is used to indicate a missing letter - it was originally used for possessives because in most Middle English nouns the remnants of the Anglo-Saxon genitive was   "es" - and the e was often omitted...hence the apostrophe.
Example: boy;possessive = boyes;modern _boy's

Great fun!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 08:17 AM

Yes, '70s is correct, and take it from the girl who just took a load of grammar in school.

Don Firth- Deda is correct. If the form "modum" were to be anything in Latin it would be second declension, neuter, and the plural would be -a. I'm staring at my Latin notes right now because my final is tomorrow. Weep for me. :(


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 08:40 AM

In England and in English literature "could've" is common when used as direct speech as a shortening of could have.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: artbrooks
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM

According to Kate Turabian and A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (which parallels the Chicago Manual of Style), the correct useage is 1970s (or 70s). This is noted under both "DECADE" and "PLURALS OF NUMBERS" in the Numbers section. All academic pedants have a copy of Terabian on their desks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM

Have it your own way..

No one really knows. I prefer the 'his' story as its history.

" In 1559, the apostrophe appeared in England in William Cunningham's The
Cosmographical Glasse (Parkes, 1993, p. 55). Sixteenth century English printers
developed the mark to indicate omissions, but this convention is not as simple as it might
sound. Initially, the apostrophe was intended to demonstrate the elision of a vowel,
meaning the vowel sound had been omitted, assimilated, or slurred in pronunciation, as in
th' inevitable end, but the apostrophe was also used to indicate a missing letter when the
vowel no longer existed in the spoken form, as in can't (Parkes, 1993, p.55). Not
th
surprisingly, there was much confusion concerning its usage until the middle of the 19
century, when printers and grammarians attempted to devise rules to govern the usage of
apostrophes (Crystal, 1995, p. 203). Despite their efforts, however, much confusion
remains today.   

The use of the apostrophe to denote possession has its origins in Old English, which
frequently attached the genitive singular ending –es to nouns. Hook (1999), points out
that 60% of all nouns in Old English formed their genitive cases in this manner (p. 44); it
is therefore not surprising that the current genitive ending –s has survived in Modern
English. The apostrophe could be viewed as a way in which to mark the deleted vowel –
e of the –es possessive ending, "derived from the Old English strong masculine genitive
singular inflection" (Blockley, 2001, p. 35). Adrian Room (1989, p. 21) provides support
for this view, citing the Old English word for stone, stän, whose genitive form was
stänes.

Hook (1999) maintains, however, that the apostrophe is "a mere printer's gimmick,
doubtless born of the mistaken notion that the genitive ending was a contraction of his"
(p. 44). An invention of mortals, the apostrophe has indeed been subject to human error.
The –es genitive ending,

often spelled and pronounced –ies or –ys in early Middle English, was
confused as early as the thirteenth century with his, the possessive of
he, so that Shakespeare could later write 'the count his gally', and even
expressions like 'my sister her watch' appeared (qtd. in Hook, 1999,
pp. 44-45).

The unstressed pronunciation of the genitive –es seemed to have caused many speakers to
believe they were saying his. This usage presumably caused pronunciation problems and
gender confusion with a noun such as woman or girl, or a plural noun like winners, but
nevertheless was quite common (Hook, 1975, p.160).   The apostrophe became a sort of
"compromise" to indicate either the missing –e in the genitive ending
–es, or the hi of the mistaken possessive indicator his (Hook, 1999, p. 45). "


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM

It's all degenerated since the nineteenth century when multiple apostrophe's were considered correct in a single word: Lewis Carroll abbreviated "shall not" as "sha'n't"


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 11:51 AM

Speaking as a professional editor and a 100% stickler, I am here to say it's '70s or seventies. I strongly discourage the poor suffering Public Affairs Officers in my shop from using apostrophes for anything but possessives -- the dear lambs can keep one rule straight, but not two. Consequently, contractions are for their off-duty hours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 12:07 PM

Poor suffering Public Affairs Officers... at whose hands are they poor and suffering? Oh dear.
(By the way, Charmion, we know each other. I'm Sarah, one of the song-circle pipsqueaks from Goderich Celtic Fest. Don't know if you knew that.)

Cheers, Seiri.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: s&r
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 12:15 PM

It would be boring if all the style manuals agreed. They don't. What most publishers settle on is a house style, which offers consistency of usage. One of my employers used a house manual to lay down rules such as which type would be used for various purposes.

Authors don't always like the house style: their instructions should then be followed (eg e e cummings).

I didn't like the open punctuation developed by the Civil Service: I now prefer the uncluttered appearance it gives to the page.

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 01:42 PM

The point is that many (most?) people don't give a fat rat's patootie about grammar or thoughftul word useage. Sometimes the resulting confusion is merely amusing. Sometimes, it can be downright dangerous. Often, it makes necessary more clarification before complete understanding is achieved.

I would rather take some time to be as clear and understandable as I can and that others would, also. Then, we can have more time for making music, having another beer, or taking a nap. Of course, the source material for most TV sitcoms would not exist. Eh, whatareyagonnado?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 02:18 PM

I like the Prentice-Hall "Handbook for Writers" because their directions are simply stated.
Supposedly we learned the rules in school, but watching the sky outside the room, or dipping pigtails in inkwells was more interesting.

The APOSTROPHE (extracted)
Brief enuf' t' tape t' yer PC. (or is that en'uf' ?) (or jes' enuf?)

Use an apostrophe to show the possessive case of nouns and indefinite pronouns.
1. If the word does not end in s, add an ' and s to form the possessive
the woman's book, the women's book, people's books
2. If the singular of a word ends in s, add an ' and s unless the second s makes pronunciation difficult; in such cases, add only the '.
Lois's car, Moses' leadership
3. If the plural of a word ends in s, add only the '.
The girls' locker room, the Smiths' house
4. In compounds, make only the last word possessive
father-in-law's pipe, mothers-in-law's birthdays, someone else's fault
5. In nouns of joint possession, make only the last noun possessive; in nouns of individual possession, make both nouns possessive.
John and Paul's office
John's and Paul's offices

A table of singular and plural possessives
child   child's   children   children's
passer-by   passer-by's   passers- by   passers-by's
etc.

Use an apostrophe to indicate the omission of a letter of number.
doesn't does not; it's it is;
blizzard of '89 blizzard of 1889
will-o'-the-wisp will of the wisp; o'clock of the clock

In reproduction of speech- dialect, colloquial.
"An' one o' the boys is goin' t' be sick," he said.
[Anyways, it don' make no nevuh mind no ways- added for Open Mike]

Use an ' and s to form the plurals of letters, numbers, and words used as words.
Cross your t's and dot your i's.
The 1970's were known as the 'me' decade. ['70's]
Eliminate unnecessary and's.
These are the only kinds of situations in which the ' is used in forming plurals. It is never used in forming the plurals of proper names or other nouns.

Do not use the ' with the possessive forms of personal pronouns
his father, an idea of hers, a friend of theirs.

Be careful not to confuse the possessive pronoun its with the contraction it's (it is).


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 02:20 PM

Hey, get off my case, folks! I wasn't trying to give anybody a Latin lesson as I don't speak the language (obviously). It just looked to me that GUEST was assuming that "modem" is a Latin word, which it is not. Now, pig latin, on the other hand. . . .

English is a wonderful language, provided you can manage the subtleties. For example:

". . . one stewardess, two stewardi; one blouse, two blice. . . ."                                                                     —Shelley Berman

If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 03:13 PM

Just keeping things accurate, Don. Didn't mean to get on your case. :-)

Cheers, Seiri.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM

Yot find me a humanitable and I'll eat it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM

If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

???

Food, at a guess


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Joybell
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 04:02 PM

We had terrible trouble persuading a sign making company not to put an apostrophe before the "s" in "The Hildebrands". It was to 'stand alone like that out'side the hou'se.
There are 'so many 'sign's out here on the Grocer's, the Butcher's, al'so on truck's and car's. I under'stand that it's an 's thing. 's's's'e's have attracted the apo'strophe's and it's 'so 'strong, thi's force, that there's no 'stopping them now. Cheer's and happine's's.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,ivor
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 04:46 PM

Q. Could you say why, in your wonnerfully learned and accurate disquisition, you had to put "1970's" and "70's".
From the rest of your piece, I don't find the logic in the apostrophes.
Another I've noticed is "CD'S"

If we feel strongly enough about it, we needn't lie down and say helplessly,"The tide of opinion is too strong."
I've recently got fed up with broadcasters using "that begs the question", so, rather than accept the supposed inevitable, I fired a couple of emails. Now bbc Radio 4 & 5 have reverted to "raising the question" and even begun using "posing the question". Reeeesult.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 04:51 PM

One reason for the grocer's apostrophe and so forth can be that someone in a hurry has made a mistake. The other one, which I suspect is very widespread, is that the cunning grocer puts in the mistakes deliberately, knowing that every now and again a couple of pedants will be walking past, notice the error, notice the notice, and a purchase will be prompted.

As for possessive apostrophes: "They add absolutely nothing to sense or clarity" but "If you get marginal cases where the meaning could be ambiguous..." (Paul Burke). In other words that first bit is not actually true.

George Bernard Shaw huffed and puffed about this, and insisted on the offending apostrophes being removed from stuff he wrote.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: artbrooks
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 05:07 PM

Editors and writers' guides? Are they the ones who have decided that decimate (reduce by ten percent) has the same meaning as devastate (lay waste)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: wordfella
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:20 PM

Those unable to understand apostrophe rules usually employ the mark for all plurals. A good friend's housewarming gift was a beautiful sign (from a company online)reading "The Strong's." I'm trying to figure out how to retouch it.

The most extreme example I've ever seen, right here in Fulton County, Illinois, was a hand-lettered ad: "Melon's." A hundred feet farther: "Cide'r."

Honest to God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:22 PM

My favourite 'missed comma' of all time was the Newspaper headline in UK in the Second World War...it read:-
EIGHTH ARMY PUSH BOTTLES UP GERMANS.   Doen't the mind boggle at the thought of that happening.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:40 PM

Actually it's supposed to have been: "EIGHTH ARMY PUSH BOTTLES UP GERMANS REAR"

If this headline actually made it into a published paper, the wordplay would undoubtedly have been intentional on the part of whoever wrote it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:48 PM

I have a facsimile copy of the paper with the headline as I printed it...not sure what you are thinking of but putting rear would not make sense anyway. The headline obviously should have read EIGHTH ARMY PUSH, BOTTLES UP GERMANS. which when you read the article explains how they surrounded a large group of Germans...not their rears! or rear but the whole bunch.
Best wishes, mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:59 PM

"Push" in this context is a noun, and GS's comma is quite inappropriate.

The problem is the failure to recognise "eighth army" as a compound adjective and hyphenate it, which would have removed the ambiguity - but what a pity that would have been.

A medium-term forecast forecasts what will happen in the medium term.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 08:21 PM

A hyphen in "eighth army" wouldn't make any difference at all to the doubtless intentional ambiguity. And a comma would make no sense, since it's the push that "bottles up" (ie partially traps) the Germans. The relevant change for a spoilsport would be to insert a hyphen in "bottles-up", thus indicating that "bottles" is a verb here, not a noun.

I'm a bit sceptical about the provenance of the headline. It's not hard to make "facsimile" joke pages. But I'd be pleased to know it was in fact genuine, and not that surprised either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 09:19 PM

Ivor, 1970's is a quote from the book '70's is my addition, since many abbreviate the decade that way. Now if a person is in his 70's. there is no ' in front. BUT, see the following.

I looked in the "Harbridge College Handbook" (and found: the 1970's OR the 1970s.
two B's OR 2 Bs
his 7's or his 7s
the VFW's or the VFWs
the &'s or &s

So take your choice. I guess this applies to cd's and cds etc.
Of course, when one submits an article to a journal, their *'archys' will change it according to their predilections.

*'Archy'- The re-incarnated cockroach who typed out "Archy and Mehitabel." for Don Marquis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 10:43 PM

EK-cetera.

EK-spresso.

(Sheesh!)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 11:35 PM

Ek? Ek! Where did they come from?
Ecdysis? Ecstasy!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Joybell
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 11:55 PM

I just heard an ABC interviewer say "irregardless". Rather fond of that word. We use it on each other all the time. Didn't expect it on the ABC though, irregardless. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Paul Burke
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 03:36 AM

" Sometimes the resulting confusion is merely amusing. Sometimes, it can be downright dangerous."

I challenge you to come up with a situation where a lost possessive apostrophe can be even inconvenient, unless the writer has taken the greatest care to cause ambiguity.

As for the Eighth Army, that kind of screamerese leads to such ambiguities so frequently, that our own dear Frank Muir made quite a secondary career from publishing books of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 06:51 AM

When does usage stop being "wrong" and start being "dialect"? E.g. "could of" which we said but didn't write, in my London childhood.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: wordfella
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM

Then there's the morphing of "all of a sudden" into "all the sudden," caused by sloppy speech and a decline in reading.

If you correct someone on an issue like this, you get a disgusted look and a "whatever."

I fire off emails to newspapers and television stations about this kind of thing, but I no longer let it affect my blood pressure.

It's fun comparing notes with Mudcatters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 09:49 AM

Did the test, I got 67% Woo -Hoo, as Homer would say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:59 PM

The other day, I was talking with a colleague, and I said, "...irrespective..." He called me on it, and said that as I was saying it, his mind was finishing the word "ir-REGARDLESS," as so many people say. But a nanosecond later, he realized that I had used the correct word, correctly. And he thanked me for it, and we laughed.

Are we wandering off into some language pet peeves? I have a list.

Actually, I once sent a letter to NPR. THEY, of all people and organizations should be among the most scrupulous about language. I listed my top seven peeves. Never got a response from the ombudsman. But several months later, they started a new piece on language pet peeves that ran for a while on Saturday ATC. Course, it is gone, now. Ahh, those were the days.

I think a lot of the language degradation is because we are doing less reading. And often what we are reading is email and carelessly written web pages where grammar and good word useage are not always valued.

OK, just one. "I could care less." EERRRGGHHHH! If you COULD care less, than the matter under discussion concerns you, at least somewhat. What you REALLY mean is that you "couldN'T care less." That means that the matter is of no interest to you, whatsoever. I could go on, but I will exercise some self-control. Oh the temptation...


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:54 PM

Mo the caller, 'could of' is also heard in America.
This departs from the subject of this thread, but here is Webster's Collegiate definition of dialect:
1. a regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together with them a single language.

By this definition, 'could of' is merely incorrect speech. But listening to myself on a tape, my 'could've' is mighty nigh 'could of' (but more 'could'uv')- sloppy, sloppy!.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 02:11 PM

Wordfella: Those unable to understand apostrophe rules usually employ the mark for all plurals. A good friend's housewarming gift was a beautiful sign (from a company online)reading "The Strong's." I'm trying to figure out how to retouch it.
I suppose it depends what message they wish to put across.
It could be either:
"The Strongs live here" in which case I assume you wish to delete the apostrophe.
Or, "This is the Strong's house", which, as a label, I assume you would wish to add an apostrophe after "The Strong's" to show the ellision of the word 'House'

As to the book title (mentioned earlier). I believe it was a PC version, as the joke I remember was:
On being asked an interview question "If you were not human, what animal would you like to be?" he replied "A panda."
When asked to explain, he stated that he'd heard that "A panda eats roots shoots and leaves".
It is the punctuating of that last sentence which gives rise to the title, and shows the panda as either a vegetarian, or a "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" type of guy.


CHEERS

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 05:57 PM

It'd make a difference if it was a family called "Strong" lived there,or a family called "Strongs".

.....................

Lost possessive pronouns being dangerous? Well, I can imagine a situation where it might be rather important to know whether it was "the terrorist's plan/bomb/hideway/hostages", implying just one single terrorist, or "the terrorists' plan/bomb/hideway/hostages", implying more than one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Deda
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 06:34 PM

Re: Decimate. This is from the Roman army, where punishment for insubordination within a century (a group of about 80 men, originally 100 but never at full complement in reality) was that the soldiers themselves had to kill one tenth of their own number, the victims being chosen at random by the centurion, IIRC. So while it's true that the end result was only the loss of one tenth of the troops, its effect was more dreadful and more dreaded than the numbers might imply.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM

An example of recent change- index, pl. indices; becoming obsolete, indexes preferred in current dictionaries.

Indices are the entries in an index. Multiple collections of indices are indexes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 07:01 PM

Appendix is another case where the latin plural is better replaced by an English plural, except in a few restricted uses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Joybell
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 07:09 PM

I was decimated when I first learned about that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 07:33 PM

Nigel says: I suppose it depends what message they wish to put across.
It could be either:
"The Strongs live here" in which case I assume you wish to delete the apostrophe.
Or, "This is the Strong's house", which, as a label, I assume you would wish to add an apostrophe after "The Strong's" to show the ellision of the word 'House'


In the second instance, your sentence should read "This is the Strongs's house" and therefore you would want the sign to read "The Strongs's". However, such a sign traditionally denotes "The Strongs live here", so the sign should read "The Strongs" with no apostrophe at all.

The only way that the sentence "This is the Strong's house" would make sense is if the house had a single resident known as, say, Erik the Strong and if the locals referred to him as "the Strong".


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Mr Happy
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 08:02 PM

'Indices are the entries in an index.

Multiple collections of indices are indexes. '





dice is plural of die- no rhyme nor reason!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: wordfella
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 08:33 PM

Nigel

>>Or, "This is the Strong's house", which, as a label, I assume you would wish to add an apostrophe after "The Strong's" to show the ellision of the word 'House'<<

Nope. If the sign implies the house, it needs to be plurally possessive: The Strongs'.

But I don't like that, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: HuwG
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 08:54 PM

GUEST, Mr. Happy,


"dice is plural of die- no rhyme nor reason!!"

So, "Two people diced today in a car crash."


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 09:42 PM

I'm a 92% stickler, except that a case can be made for and against some of the examples.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:18 PM

Mr Happy, you must have been looking at Wackypedia or the like. You disagree with both the OED and Merriam Webster.

OED- Index: pl. indexes, also index's and indices
Webster's- Index: pl. indexes or indices.

2. An index is a list arranged usu. in alphabetical order of some specified datum (as author, subject or keyword...
In a book it may be a list of page numbers; in a bibliography the author, date of publication, title, publisher, etc.
Other meanings to index, but this is the one dealt with most often.

The individual entries are never called indices.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Mr Happy
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 07:19 AM

Q,

I know what I was looking at- clearly not the same text as you.


A die is a cube with the sides numbered 1-6 & used in games of chance.

The plural of 'die' is 'dice'


See below where the reference to 'indices' was taken from.


Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM

An example of recent change- index, pl. indices; becoming obsolete, indexes preferred in current dictionaries.

Indices are the entries in an index. Multiple collections of indices are indexes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:14 PM

So Guest Peter is to blame?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 07:38 PM

"A die is a cube with the sides numbered 1-6 & used in games of chance." + with the sides arranged so that opposite sides always add up to seven.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 07:44 PM

According to Prairie Home Companion, the joke goes:

A Panda Bear walks into a bar and sits at a table. The bartender calls over to him, "Whaddya want?" The Panda requests a sandwich. A few minutes later, the bartender brings a plate over with a sandwich on it and returns to his duties behind the bar. The Panda eats the sandwich, blots his mouth with a napkin, stands up and pulls a handgun, shoots the bartender in the shoulder, and runs out into the street--followed closely by a regular patron, who shouts after him, "Why???!!"
The Panda turns and says, "What?"
"Why??!! Why did you do this??!" responds the bar patron.
"I'm a Panda. Look it up."
"What?"
"I'm a Panda. Look it up." And the Panda departs hurriedly.
The bar patron goes back into the bar, goes behind the counter, and reaches for one of the series of the encyclopedias kept on a reference shelf behind the bar. (There are a number of such reference books kept in bars in the U. S., to settle sports bets and historical questions which might otherwise come to physical contests between some patrons.) He finds an entry for the Giant Panda: "A mammalian living in the mountains of China; subsists on bamboo; eats, shoots and leaves."
More or less, that's how it goes. Misplaced comma. Proofreading error. See?                   Tw


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 08:11 PM

< pedant alert! >Correctly, the entry should read "eats shoots and leaves." No commas at all. When it reads "eats, shoots, and leaves," or "eats, shoots and leaves," pandas all over the world strap on their holsters. < /pedant alert >

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 04:30 AM

Tits like coconuts!
G


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: autolycus
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 04:44 AM

There's surely an uncertain and fine line between pedantry and accuracy (designed for true comprehension


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: RichardP
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 07:50 AM

There's surely a ceratin and far from fine line between pedantry and inaccuracy as typified in the difference between "eats shoots and leaves " and "eats, shoots and leaves".

Let's look at more than one index some more.

Everyone is familiar with the index in a book. However what is it? Mathematically it is an array which comprises many entries each of which has (at least) two visible fields. One is a text string (such as a chapter title) which identifies a point in the book. The other is also a text string which identifies where in the book the first field occurs. This latter may appear to be a number, although it often does not. (Some may appear to be roman numerals sometimes they contain non-numeric characters). However it has no inherent mathematical properties which make it anything other than a string of characters. There is also another field in the array which is rarely (if ever) printed. This is the position within the array that each entry takes. Although not normally visible or acknowledged it is the index of the array that is itself the index.

We have two words with the same pronunciation and spelling but almost totally unrelated in meaning. The plural of the latter (hidden) index (in the English language) is unquestionably indices. It may be different in American and other foreign languages. It is also totally absent from the dictionary definitions referred to above.

I have no difficulty with the use of indexes for the plural of the index of a book. But indices is the only correct plural for the mathematical index.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: kendall
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 07:53 AM

"Would of" drives me batty.

Mario, don't feel bad; I got all of the commas, but didn't fare so well with those damned apostrophys.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 02:19 PM

Giok:
The photo you linked to would appear to have suffered a mastectomy, as only one tit was visible!

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST,Auggie
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM

Saul
NPR still has a wonderful hour, heard here in the midwest on Sunday mornings, called "A Way With Words". Courtesy of KPBS in San Diego, it sounds similar to your late, lamented program.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 09:34 AM

I got the children's one wrong but, on reflection, I am a little confused. I agree that children, being the plural, would have the possesive adjective between the n and the s. For instance the children's clothes would indicate the clothes belonging to the children. What about a children's clothes department though, as in the department selling clothes that fit children? The apostrophe would be wrong in this case, would it not?

My brain hurts...

:D (tG)


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 01:33 PM

Just realised - It is the department belonging to the childrens clothes so I guess it is the childrens clothes' department!

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police: eats shoots and leaves
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 04:15 PM

children is plural. The s can only be possessive.

Stu


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