Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 3 TEST - I think I'm enjoying this a little too much. Here goes... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. I bet your sick of hearing about Jake and Colin by now.
B. You're right - I spend way too much time talking about them.
#2A. I'm open to you're suggestions for new pretend-boyfriends.
B. Maybe I could have your pretend-boyfriend, instead.

If you chose B for #1 and B for #2, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review. 

Week 4, Lesson 4 involves something I wasn't going to address here, but I've had requests. See, I'm not a big fan of punctuation. I hate commas, I use way too many ellipses and dashes, and I'm never sure whether to put punctuation inside or outside of quotation marks. I also write in incomplete sentences, inappropriately capitalize words, and sometimes even use slang. (However, when I do write "ain't" or "dunno" or "gonna", you'd better believe they're spelled correctly.) None of which I plan to address here, because I'm more about the correct spelling/usage of words. Just the words, ma'am. But there is this one teensy tiny little punctuation error that I wish to rid the world of: the dreaded apostrophe mishap. Don't feel bad, folks. I don't think I learned this until I was a senior in college. A senior in college as an English major. Probably should've picked that one up a little earlier in my studies, huh?
Anyway, here's the deal:
  • Plain ol' plurals never get apostrophes. Ever. So "The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebow's" should really be "The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebows". No apostrophe necessary. Ever.
  • If something owns something else, it gets an apostrophe s. Always. "Tebow's skills are pure awesomeness", not "Tebows skills are pure awesomeness" or "Tebows' skills are pure awesomeness". (Tim Tebow owns skills.) And yes, awesomeness is a word. Sorta.
Here's the tricky part:
  • Plurals that own something still get an apostrophe s. For example, "All little boys's dreams involve playing Gator football" is absolutely correct. (Plural boys own dreams.) However, the reason you don't see s's that much is because we usually reduce it to lowest terms, just like math. In other words, you don't want an extra s hanging out, so it gets lopped off and that's how "All little boys' dreams involve playing Gator football" becomes the more common of the two sentences. To be honest, I don't even know what "reduce to lowest terms" means in math, but that's how it was explained to me, so I roll with it.
Next week I'll address the apostrophe as it relates to contractions, plus the dreaded its vs. it's dilemma, but I've had just about enough apostrophe talk for today. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

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