9/24/08

A Little Poem

Apostrophe (Oh Christmas Tree)

by Eileen Thorpe


Apostrophe, apostrophe
You drive me oh so batty.
Apostrophe, apostrophe
Your overuse is a travesty.
Some people just can’t get enough
They must think you’re hot stuff
Apostrophe, apostrophe
Some rules to avoid catastrophe.

It’s hers and theirs and yours and its
when you want to possess a bit
And when you need to pluralize,
You don’t need to apostrophize.
And what of words that end in esess?
An apostrophe will only make a mess’s.

I wonder why you so confuse
I’m sure you’re tired of this abuse.
Apostrophe, apostrophe
You drive me oh so batty.

Ok, I'll quit now.

A Small Grammar Lesson

I simply cannot contain myself any longer, I have seen this mistake one too many times to remain quiet any longer. This will probably rub some of you the wrong way and I'm sorry if it does, but please don't send me email about it. These are my personal feelings, my personal blog, and this is still a free country, at least for now. I know I am not perfect and am not suggesting that I am, but these are simple grammar skills which should be common knowledge to anyone over the age of 10. I like messing around with the language as much as the next guy but these are just flat-out mistakes:

Stationary:

1. standing still; not moving

2. having a fixed position; not movable

vs.

Stationery:

1. writing paper

2. writing materials, as pens, pencils, paper, and envelopes

One letter makes it an entirely different word. Go figure!

Then there is the rampant misuse of apostrophes (you will notice there is NOT an apostrophe there). Some people misuse them so often that I am quite sure they have exceeded their lifetime allotment of apostrophe use and have put us all in danger of being totally apostropheless (not a word, I know) in the very near future. In fact, I would love to have the opportunity to permanently remove that key from their keyboard!

Excerpted from Grammar Girl:

Apostrophes have two main uses in the English language: they stand in for something that's missing, and they can be used to make a word possessive. The most common place to find this kind of apostrophe is in contractions such as can't (for can not), that's (for that is), or to indicate possession. For example, the aardvark's pencil, where there is an apostrophe s at the end of aardvark, means that the pencil belongs to the aardvark. It does not mean the plural of aardvark, and it does not mean "The aardvark is pencil."

For some reason, people seem especially prone to apostrophe errors, and most especially people who write signs and flyers, such as a sign in a vegetable market advertising “Banana's $1.50.” Banana's apostrophe s, as though a banana was carrying around pocket change. The apostrophe before the s makes the $1.50 a possession of one lucky banana.

Just a couple of small things that make me crazy, and gives me serious doubt about the education system in this country. I know English is a difficult language but it IS our native language here, albeit not the "official" language of the U.S., thanks to our esteemed (ahem) government officials. Don't get me started.

I can hear you saying I should have better things to do with my time (I do, actually), but PLEASE, people, buy a dictionary or better yet, access one online. Whatever your choice - USE IT! Have a nice day :-)