[DWJ] A grammar realization - Where are we from?

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Fri Apr 13 16:35:47 EDT 2007

Colin said:

> Yes, I know, there are cases where potential ambiguities in writing 
> can be clarified in speech, by stress, pause etc. And if all else 
> fails, in  conversation you can ask for clarification.
> But the instances where otherwise clear writing is changed or rendered 
> ambiguous by a misplaced apostrophe are rare as rocking-horse dung. (I 
> carefully said 'otherwise clear', because I am convinced that if you 
> do find an example where a misplaced apostrophe leads you astray you 
> will usually find that the expression is far from clear anyway).
> The only function of the apostrophe is to let snooty people look down 
> their noses at others. Get rid of it.

As a member of the snooty, I have to agree with minnow (sorry for the 
inference of snootidity, there, minnow). And I would also point out that 
removing the apostrophe altogether immediately adds ambiguity in number 
of everyday examples. As soon as you take out the apostrophe, you can't 
tell if the possessive noun is singular or plural in most phrases like 
"the girls books," and context won't necessarily help.


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