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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Apostrophe
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Showing posts 1 - 25 of 128, descending (reverse)
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02/07/2011 09:10:54 PM · #1
oh the commady
02/07/2011 08:54:20 PM · #2
Originally posted by jonkster:

yes you are right... "races end" would typically mean races do end.

similarly:

"Birds fly." is a complete sentence - that is what birds do... fly

"Birds' fly" is the fly belonging to more than one bird (as in "Gadflies are many birds' favourite flies."

"Bird's fly" is the zipper at the front of a particular bird's trousers.

"The bird's trouser's fly" is totally different in meaning from "The bird's trousers fly" :D

Well, since very few birds wear trousers, it's not really a big issue, is it? :)

Anyway, the real problem isn't apostrophes. The real problem, the one that could end civilization, as we know it, is the widespread misuse of commas! There, are, so, many, rules, relating, to, comma, usage! Where to put them all!?

Oh, the humanity!


02/07/2011 12:45:25 PM · #3
Originally posted by jonkster:

yes you are right... "races end" would typically mean races do end.

similarly:

"Birds fly." is a complete sentence - that is what birds do... fly

"Birds' fly" is the fly belonging to more than one bird (as in "Gadflies are many birds' favourite flies."

"Bird's fly" is the zipper at the front of a particular bird's trousers.

"The bird's trouser's fly" is totally different in meaning from "The bird's trousers fly" :D


Excellent breakdown, and a sound example of the value of the apostrophe.
02/06/2011 10:00:40 PM · #4
Apostrophes are important in written language because they give meaning that is not needed in spoken language. In spoken language we have inflection and cadence, both of which are vital in giving meaning to what you say. In written language, we need another method of showing the sense of what we are saying; thus punctuation fulfils that role.
02/06/2011 09:37:22 PM · #5
yes you are right... "races end" would typically mean races do end.

similarly:

"Birds fly." is a complete sentence - that is what birds do... fly

"Birds' fly" is the fly belonging to more than one bird (as in "Gadflies are many birds' favourite flies."

"Bird's fly" is the zipper at the front of a particular bird's trousers.

"The bird's trouser's fly" is totally different in meaning from "The bird's trousers fly" :D

02/06/2011 08:43:47 PM · #6
That's what I was going to say. "Races end" is also a complete sentence, where "end" is a verb.
02/06/2011 08:23:40 PM · #7
Unless, of course, end is being used as a verb. As in 'The races end over there.' If it's a noun, then 'The races' end is over there' (if you have different races with the same finish line...)

Message edited by author 2011-02-06 22:21:00.
02/06/2011 07:22:42 PM · #8
My understanding, as an apostrophe-phobe, is:

The words "races end", with no apostrophe, is refering to some odd thing called a "races end", (much like "other end", "dead end", "book end", "south end" etc where the "end" isn't possessed by the race).

If one race had an end and I wanted to refer to that, I should write "the race's end"

If there were several races that ended and I wanted to refer to that ending, then I should write "the races' end" (the several races "possess" an end and so require the apostrophe).



02/06/2011 07:18:11 PM · #9
George Orwell - Politics and the English Language

A fascinating and still very apt essay on fuzzy speech and the ramifications for good governance.
02/06/2011 07:14:34 PM · #10
The consequences are already here: poorly written instructions and obscure political rhetoric are just two that come to mind, and these in turn engender not just madness and frustration but genuine discouragement.

There are however times and places for correctness and irreverence.
02/06/2011 06:34:02 PM · #11
It WOULD be pretty sloppy to write that many races end when you are referring to the particular end of a specific race.

I scratch my head in bemusement when I see intelligent, educated people earnestly justifying sloppy grammar as being of little consequence. Personally, I disagree. I think that sloppy anything is consequential. I think it's important to maintain the habit of quality in everything we do.

I certainly don't think folks should take offense when those of us who DO care rise to the defense of our language. You may or may not agree with us, and I guess that's your right, but we do stand on the high ground here :-)

R.
02/06/2011 06:24:16 PM · #12
Originally posted by jonkster:

Originally posted by Covert_Oddity:


Where do you draw the line?


for me, where meaning or ease of reading is compromised.

Few people would ignorantly write Ill when they mean I'll.

Many however would write "The races end" rather than "The race's end". Both are spoken aloud identically, (apostrophe or not), the apostrophe adds nothing to how it would be heard or understood. What use it?

Unlike Ill/I'll, Shell/She'll Hell, He'll where it changes the way the word is pronounced - in effect the apostrophe becomes a component of spelling not punctuation.

I say... use 'em to indicate a contraction and don't sweat over the odd misplaced one.


English is not my first language, but I seriously doubt that the examples you give here are even remotely close. One refers to the end of several races, whereas the other makes alludes to the end on one specific race.

I will however wait to see what my learned "English" confrères such as ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Bear_Music have to say about this.

Ray

Message edited by author 2011-02-06 18:25:39.
02/06/2011 06:15:08 PM · #13
Originally posted by Covert_Oddity:


Where do you draw the line?


for me, where meaning or ease of reading is compromised.

Few people would ignorantly write Ill when they mean I'll.

Many however would write "The races end" rather than "The race's end". Both are spoken aloud identically, (apostrophe or not), the apostrophe adds nothing to how it would be heard or understood. What use it?

Unlike Ill/I'll, Shell/She'll Hell, He'll where it changes the way the word is pronounced - in effect the apostrophe becomes a component of spelling not punctuation.

I say... use 'em to indicate a contraction and don't sweat over the odd misplaced one.

02/06/2011 06:00:45 PM · #14
Ill time the race.

Am I saying that the race is badly timed, or am I saying I'll keep the time for the race?

You may say that you understand the sentence without them, but lose them, then lose question marks for example, and perhaps even full stops, suddenly it's not so easy.

Where do you draw the line?
02/06/2011 05:43:32 PM · #15
Originally posted by GeneralE:


I think part of the point is not whether the "correct" meaning can be extracted from a piece of writing if the spelling or punctuation are incorrect, but whether one must make the extra effort to do so


I can't say I disagree that much but do enjoy being contrary so understand my tongue placement is mostly cheekward in the following. :D

Does a sign reading "Tomato's $5.00/kg" require that much extra effort to understand?

Or say, "its raining today" or "it's lens has fungus" - do they really confuse the reader or require extra thought to grasp? Dropped appropiately in a piece of prose I believe most people would read those without even noticing the apostrophes (or lack of) and grasp without effort the author's meaning.

How about "Loves Labours Lost"... is that really that much harder to understand than "Love's Labour's Lost"? Why?

When spoken aloud "Love's Labour's Lost", the words carry no extra clues to possession, why when written do we need the extra punctuation to denote possession? We can grasp the possession immediately and intuitively by context.

I can see where the apostrophe may help sometimes in indicating contractions as the word may be pronounced differently depending on apostrophe placement (eg hell, he'll) but as a denoter of possession?

If a sentence really does require puncuation to indicate possession to avoid ambiguity then it would also be ambiguous when spoken aloud and perhaps would be better re-written to be clearer anyway.

Is our prose that much more difficult to understand because of such "errors"? I'd say very rarely.

Or (deliberately started with a conjunction to annoy!) is it just our desire to follow convention and our righteous indignation when we see conventions broken, not through deliberate choice (ie creativity) but through ignorance (something to be corrected)?

Do I actually care that much? Well... not really but do enjoy the argument :)

Ban the pesky things!

Message edited by author 2011-02-06 17:45:12.
02/06/2011 11:15:09 AM · #16
It is extremely doubtful that Mr. Shakespeare set the type from which books of his plays were printed (especially those published after his death). Additionally, English spelling was not at all standardized in his day ... there are something like four authenticated signatures of Shakespeare extant, and in each he spells his own name differently.

I think part of the point is not whether the "correct" meaning can be extracted from a piece of writing if the spelling or punctuation are incorrect, but whether one must make the extra effort to do so, having to concentrate one's attention on the syntax and grammar rather than the content or meaning ...

Message edited by author 2011-02-06 11:16:18.
02/05/2011 11:59:43 PM · #17
check this appalling absence of the apostrophe (on the cover of a book no less):

' . substr('//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/Title_page_William_Shakespeare%27s_First_Folio_1623.jpg/250px-Title_page_William_Shakespeare%27s_First_Folio_1623.jpg', strrpos('//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/Title_page_William_Shakespeare%27s_First_Folio_1623.jpg/250px-Title_page_William_Shakespeare%27s_First_Folio_1623.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

One of the plays within, the author has entitled: "Loves Labour's Lost".(!)

In another he writes the line: “The Cradle-babe, Dying with mothers dugge betweene it’s lips.”

I can't see him having much of a future given his inability to grasp such basic principles of the written language.

I for one think such ill educated writers should not be encouraged and their works should be ignored, they clearly have no idea.

:D
02/05/2011 10:14:27 PM · #18
Originally posted by Mick:

Does the following text use apostrophes correctly?

"Richard's quite anal about proper grammar and punctuation at DPChallenge. I'm afraid he's going to blow a gasket if he doesn't chill out."


Excellent grammar, correct use of apostrophes.

Unfortunately, it's not a very good summary of Richard's position. I haven't seen him stressing on this, he just made a perfectly valid comment about the poor grammar skills we see on this site daily, and he's not the only one that notices this stuff. If he were out there hectoring people, you might have a point, but I don't think it's fair to deride him because he has a concern for correct usage of the mother tongue.

R.
02/05/2011 10:00:34 PM · #19
Originally posted by hahn23:

It's almost a daily irritation to see the incorrect use of apostrophes in topic titles and forum posts. In the interest of improving the readability of the DPC forum, it would be a good thing for all to read and understand: Apostrophes

If one does not want to learn the rules, just take a moment to run your spelling and grammar checker incorporated into your browser before posting.

So, you say, "Who cares?". All I can say, grammatical and spelling errors interfere with the effectiveness of the message one is trying to deliver.

Maybe you could provide us with corrected versions of everyone else's posts. Think of it as a public service. ;)

Go ahead and give it a try. Does the following text use apostrophes correctly?

"Richard's quite anal about proper grammar and punctuation at DPChallenge. I'm afraid he's going to blow a gasket if he doesn't chill out."


02/05/2011 05:32:26 PM · #20
Originally posted by kirbic:



Surethinglet'sdoit!


should not that read

Surethingletsdoit?

Message edited by author 2011-02-05 17:32:41.
02/05/2011 05:05:27 PM · #21
Originally posted by kawesttex:

canwegetridofspacesbecausetheytakeupsomuchspace.


Surethinglet'sdoit!
02/05/2011 02:49:42 PM · #22
canwegetridofspacesbecausetheytakeupsomuchspace.
02/05/2011 01:50:35 PM · #23
azamnig
02/05/2011 01:45:09 PM · #24
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
02/05/2011 01:27:20 PM · #25
Originally posted by kirbic:

Still, if my *job* is writing for one of these publications, I can't envision these types of mistakes making it to the web, even without editing.

There's no excuse for an article being "littered with errors," but one of the mantras of the printing/publishing business is that, no matter how carefully edited something might be, "there's always a typo" ...
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