or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, October 16, 2006

Off With Her Apostrophe

After reading Stephanie Zacharek's review, I really want to see the new movie "Marie Antoinette". However, there's the little matter of this sentence in the review:

It was filmed on location at Versailles (Coppola is the first filmmaker to have been granted that privilege), in a palette of cupcake-fondant colors and patina'ed gold.

Let's see what the Apostrophe Protection Society has to say about a word like "patina'ed". Nope, nothing there about shoving an apostrophe in between two vowels in a preterite or an adjective that takes the form of a preterite. And with good reason: it's wrong. The apostrophe has a number of jobs, none of which is to separate the past-tense/adjectival "-ed" ending from a word ending in a vowel that isn't "-e-". "Soloed", not "solo'ed". "Bikinied", not "bikini'ed". And so forth.

There are two ways to pronounce "patina": "puh-TEE-nuh" and "PAT-uh-nuh". I prefer the second, but they're both correct. There are also two ways to spell the past tense form of "patina": "patinaed" and "patinated". Again, I prefer the second, but again, they're both correct. You will, however, note that there isn't an apostrophe to be found in either of them, Stephanie.


Update: Constant reader Tony Pius wrote:

Maybe Stephanie prefers the four-syllable past-tense form, but replaces the second "t" with a glottal stop...?

Nice theory! The problem is that a glottal stop doesn't easily follow a long vowel, and I say this as one who is possessed of a rather ferocious stop himself. If she were going to throw a stop in there, she'd do it after the first vowel sound, and then, rather than stress the second "-t-", blunt it into a "-d-", with the last two syllables sounding like those in "cannonaded". (It's how I would pronounce it myself if I didn't force myself to pronounce the second "-t-", and, as it happens, I used the word "patinated" today, describing a frame to a customer.)

If you Google "patina'ed", you'll find some hits. Stephanie Zacharek isn't the only person on Earth who thinks you have to insert an apostrophe after a vowel but before "-ed", which is to say she isn't the only person who's wrong on this matter. I like Salon a lot, but damn, their copy-editing leaves a lot to be desired.


Blogger Tony Pius said...

Maybe Stephanie prefers the four-syllable past-tense form, but replaces the second "t" with a glottal stop...?

Yeah, you're right, probably not.

Monday, October 16, 2006 4:18:00 PM  

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