Thursday, July 26

Punctuation Pet Peeves

I got a tip for you ...
Okay - there are much bigger concerns in the world. But I would like to take a moment from serious topics and just rant about stupid stuff like punctuation.

The apostrophe (or flying comma - to my Dad) has two jobs. It would have been better for the English language if they had created another punctuation mark so that the apostrophe could be used for contractions (such as can't, don't, isn't) and something else would be used for possession (cat's paw, Karen's purse, The Howells' house). But they didn't - so people should go back to elementary school and get clear on the proper usage. Otherwise they will cause some of us to stroke out in frustration!

And I love my father...I have written about how much I love him right here...but the comma is not a cheap substitute for the apostrophe (which can be found next to the enter shifting needed!). But I must say, at least he puts his fallen apostrophe in the right places!!

How do you get one right
and the other wrong??
Let's get one part of this straight - plural vs. possession. When you are indicating that there is more than one of something...that is plural. No apostrophe!! Seeing signs indicating the sale on hot dog's, flower's or soft drink's makes me come a little unglued. Same thing for plural people! More than one Howell? Howells. More than one Frank? Franks. Several people named Chris? Chrises. I swear - even though Blogger has it underlined in red. Spell check isn't always right.

Possession - showing that something belongs to someone (or something) - THAT is where the apostrophe comes in. Frank's dogs. Mr. Howell's lawnmower. My cat's freaky behavior. It gets tricky when the possessor ends in "s" - like my name "Chris". Then you just hang the apostrophe on top of the existing "s" - Chris' cat, Mr. Edwards' plow, The Howells' party!

Now just to throw a whole monkey wrench into the proceedings...let's (which is a contraction of "let us") examine the confusing world of "its" and "it's". Because the whole possession='s rule goes right out the window. In this one case...something belonging to it is "its". And if you're trying to say "it is" a little quicker - that would be it's. The way that I remember goes back to my days of watching Electric Company on PBS. I look at that little apostrophe in it's and see it as the dot on top of an "i" (which is actually called a tittle). So if I see the word it's - I know the usage is "it is". And yes, when I'm typing a sentence I sometimes have to stop and picture it in my mind. I wish I could find a You Tube of that Electric Company skit.

Next time I may rant about they're, their and there. Or perhaps here and hear.
Your and you're (not to mention yore). And I think I could go on for quite a while about grown folks with keyboards who use U, R and 2. But for tonight - see a few signs that make me want to paint out offensive apostrophes. And if you haven't had enough...go visit this website.

Nice job, newspaper proofreader. If this is
what we get from people who put words on
paper for a do we expect better from
the unwashed masses?

Ah...quaint...homespun...still ticks me off.
Someone PAID a person to put this on their vehicle.
To advertise their professional service to the public.
More than one idiot contributed to this failure.
At least they got "cakes" and "occasions" correct. 
I think this makes me saddest of all. This passed through
a designer, a client, a fabricator and at least one
installer. I don't think I'd want custom cabinets
from these keen eyes. 

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