Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Apostrophes

Marina and I were exchanging instant messages today while she was at the reference desk, and I was trying to help her help a patron who was requesting some unusual information. During the conversation, she was explaining something in the text and included a portion in parentheses, but she never ended it with the last parenthesis. She immediately apologized, which I thought was funny. There are some people who are far too conscientious about their typos, but I thought I’d give her a hard time anyway, telling her that parenthetical conversations that go on forever wear me out. So she gave me my “)” so I could relax.

This led to a series of complaints that far too often, people will use abbreviations, contractions or acronyms with things that deserve to be spelled out, but they will stick apostrophes in words where they are not needed. There seems to be a new version of the word your, which is either spelled UR, or you’re, for random reasons. HATE THIS! But the worst offender is the apostrophe-S. Plurals have apostrophes now. No, they’re not supposed to, but I’m finding no one even tries to be correct, and whenever there is an S on the end of a word, they just put an apostrophe before it.

There is a subdivision near my house, and they commissioned a huge stone with the name of the subdivision carved into it, which might have looked classy if it wasn’t proofread by a fucking moron. The finished boulder had read “Northern Pine’s of Illinois”. Duh. Carved, I should say again. It stayed that way for many months, and then someone recently came in and patched the apostrophe over with some similarly shaded putty. However, the big boulder now reads, “Northern Pine s of Illinois.” Lovely. It seems to me that this kind of crap didn’t happen so often before the proclivity of instant messages and texting, which makes me think that the world is forgetting how to use the language properly, even though they’re using written words more.

Being a gigantic bitch, I’ve decided to make fun of the idiots who know not where to put apostrophes, even though that’s elementary school subject matter. I’ve decided that every time there is an S in a word, it will automatically get an apostrophe first.

That’s a lot of ‘S’s, people.

What end’s up happening here i’s that word’s look foreign. It’s almo’st pretty. ‘So, I’m going to go with thi’s. At lea’st for the time being. Becau’se making fun of apo’strophe’s i’s almo’st a’s much fun a’s making fun of the people who have no idea what to do with them. It’s ‘shocking to me becau’se it’s not that difficult. And if we u’sed them correctly, we’d hardly u’se them at all. Particularly when you compare with u’sing them before each ‘S, which i’s getting a bit ridiculou’s. It make’s more ‘sen’se to ju’st not u’se them at all.

Thi’s make’s me wonder if apo’strophe-abu’ser’s would even notice.

And how ironic if they were to ‘speak up and point out the mi’su’se of the apo’strophe’s.

Then again, I think I might ju’st be ‘shooting my’self in the foot, wearing out my apo’strophe key on a point that can’t be under’stood by tho’se who need to under’stand it mo’st.

8 comments:

Cat. said...

1. Thank God for Word's "replace all" feature! :-)

2. Sign in a library I know and occasionally even love: "Friend's Booksale" nuf said

3. I await your theses on the "their/they're/there" controversy.

4. As I wrote this, I got an IM from my husband in which he says, "I've been hear too..." This is unbelievably unusual--he is very tired--but I applaud his timing. ;-)

Rachel said...

I like to 'sometime's leave out all the vowel's (which make's word like "you" pretty impo's'sible)
I think I shall annoy my teachers with this technique :D thanks!

Manda said...

As I was reading this, my mind was automatically reading the words as actual contractions. That hurt my head! I was an English major, so things like correct grammar and punctuation are drilled into my brain.

grayjaydeb said...

Okay... so I'm probably taking you way to seriously... but I'm a big fan of the book "Eats, shoots and leaves" and thought that I would argue with you. However, please know that I'm Canadian and sometimes our langauge and punctuation differs...

There are two words your and you're... The first is to indicate possession... and the second is to describe a state of being...

Your blog illustrates that you're funny and almost as passionate about words as I am.

The last one is more subjective... when they say “Northern Pine’s of Illinois”. It could mean that the Pines belong to Illinois, at which time the appostrophe is in the right place...

Lynn Truss starts with a comment that she is often tempted to change signs with the black marker she carries in her purse... so that the lemon's $0.39... could rightly be lemons...

Hope I'm not just being sour --grin--

Dr Zibbs said...

Grammer? Oh you'll hate my blog.

Kate P said...

Apologizing--that would be me, too. Typos and grammatical errors make me crazy.

Even as far back as when I graduated from eighth grade, I had to wipe the quotation marks the bakery had put in front of the year instead of the apostrophe, to omit the 19. Remember that? Good grief.

Going to grad school online means having to read a lot of poorly typed discussions. It is torture. Someone even thought it was O.K. to use the dreaded "UR" all the time! On graded comments! Ugh.

Mme.G said...

http://www.apostropheabuse.com/

You could be a star submitter! Take a pic of that boulder and send it in :-)

ranger said...

Terry Pratchett writes that way to represent a certain group of people in his disc world series. Apparently the 's is rampant in England as well as in the U.S.