or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, July 16, 2007

Turn Away

Okay, so Jim got his pants. Or, as some people (but not Jim, who knows better) would apparently have it, "pant's".

I just do not understand why apostrophes are so difficult to manage for so many people. The rules are simple: an apostrophe represents a deleted letter ("they're" instead of "they are"), or it represents possession ("Jacqueline's jacket"). That's really about all you need to know, except that the apostrophe never appears in a possessive pronoun ("its", not "it's"; "yours", not "your's"). Nothing to it.

Here's a hand-written sign in front of a convenience store I passed on my way to work yesterday:


Wouldn't you think there would be at least some sort of consistency? If the signmaker thought that all plurals took an apostrophe, which some people by all evidence do, then there'd be three of them. If the signmaker conversely thought that a word ending in a vowel took an apostrophe when pluralized, which by all evidence some others do, then "floats" wouldn't take one but "freezies" would. Perhaps the internal rule is that a word ending in a consonantal sound takes an apostrophe, but one ending in a vowel sound doesn't?

I'm clearly giving the anonymous scribbler too much credit for thinking this through, I suppose, but otherwise it's completely random, and completely baffling to me.


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