[LINK] grammar nazis

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Thu Oct 26 15:01:01 AEST 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.
> iT
>> http://wsu.edu/~brians/errors/acronyms.html
>>> 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.

Kim Holburn
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