[LINK] grammar nazis

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Thu Oct 26 15:38:18 AEST 2006

On 26/10/2006, at 3:01 PM, Kim Holburn wrote:

> 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  
> though.

No, it isn't - and the above construct is not as simple as the single  
apostrophe example, and it's harder to read, to boot.

>> 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*)?

Uh, yes - not expressed well... Why shouldn't the apostrophe be used  
for more than possessive examples (such as contractions,  
pluralisations, etc)?

An example of the use of US: 'How many US's would it take to consume  
the world's food supply?' Perhaps I should have chosen another  
acronym with a final 'S', but the point is there.

>> 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;-)

I've spent years (literally) editing people's full-stop omissions  
back into sentences. I don't understand why a sentence ending with a  
URL can't have a full-stop to signify the end of the sentence. Why do  
so many people shy away from it? And e-mail addresses, too!

(yes, I know that http://mysite.com.au/index.html. is likely to fail  
when http://mysite.com.au/index.html was intended, but surely there  
isn't a single internet-capable person on the planet who can't work  
that out?)

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