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

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Apr 13 17:13:43 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.

robyn responded far more mildly than my Lost Post:

>As a member of the snooty, I have to agree with minnow (sorry for the
>inference of snootidity, there, minnow).

's OK, us minnows don't have broad shoulders or indeed shoulders at all but
we are positively *proud* of the size and elegance of our snoots.  If they
were lesser, we couldn't spit pebbles anything like so well.

>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.

Heh!  As is my won't, I respond to the suggestion that I eschew the
apostrophe with a resounding "wont!"  :-)


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