[LINK] grammar nazis
kim at holburn.net
Thu Oct 26 15:01:01 EST 2006
On 2006 Oct 26, at 12:42 PM, Ivan Trundle wrote:
> On 26/10/2006, at 11:54 AM, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> This is for those interested in grammar out there: what do you
>> think of this?
> Various style guides point out that clarity is the aim, and without
> this, how would anyone write about the number of a's and i's (the
> lower-case letters) in a sentence?
'a's and 'i's ? "a"s and "i"s? metalanguage is not always simple
> Pluralising single letters and numbers with the addition of an
> apostrophe makes sense, because it makes things clear and unambiguous.
> English is a living language, and demands the bending and reforming
> of rules. There was a time when the acronym 'LASER' was the only
> way to spell 'laser'. Times change.
> Retaining the apostrophe for possessive use only is restrictive,
> though often confused. How else can we pluralise 'US' - other than
> to change to an attributive use?
Could you paraphrase that? I didn't understand it. Was it about the
United States which is already a plural (surely there could only be
*one* of *them*)?
> How would we write, "Delete all .exe's from the directory"?
I often have this problem where I have a domain name at the end of a
sentence like www.google.com. Should I put a full stop straight at
the end (like I just did)? Sometimes I ad a space at the end i.e.
www.yahoo.com . It's not right but it works better for me;-)
> Paul Brians makes bold and untested claims about 'standard English'
> to the point of being embarrassing, even given his PhD and
> 'Professor of English' assertions, and pleas to be careful not to
> be parochial. Here's a great line:
> 'My goal is to defend American standard usage from the bullying of
> non-American critics...'
So that'd be US English then I suppose.
>>> One unusual modern use of the apostrophe is in plural acronyms,
>>> like “ICBM’s” “NGO’s” and “CD’s”. Since this pattern violates the
>>> rule that apostrophes are not used before an S indicating a
>>> plural, many people object to it. It is also perfectly legitimate
>>> to write “CDs,” etc. See also “50’s.” But the use of apostrophes
>>> with initialisms like “learn your ABC’s and “mind your P’s and
>>> Q’s” is now so universal as to be acceptable in almost any context.
>>> Note that “acronym” was used originally only to label
>>> pronounceable abbreviations like “NATO,” but is now generally
>>> applied to all sorts of initialisms. Be aware that some people
>>> consider this extended definition of “acronym” to be an error.
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