Buggered off to Heaven: The Grammar Thread

LydaLyda Shipmate
At Doc Tor's kindly general suggestion (command) I am starting a dedicated grammar thread here in Heaven.

Firstly, please be reasonably gentle about everyone's errors on the thread- like mine. :sweat_smile: There is something about discussion on grammar that leads to numerous grammar traffic violations. Grammar police, please give lots of warnings, few fines.

Secondly, you might watch this in order to get into the mood.

The things that I would be interested in getting straight are apostrophes on words that end with S. And more detail on proper use of commas. Thank you in advance, English language mavens.
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  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    Using my grammatic crystal ball I can foresee a pond war here. The rules of grammar for the English language are not universal but vary from region to region. Also conversational English differs from the formal written form: Some see online forums (or fora – two correct forms there) as being informal and will post using an informal style.

    I like to play spot the error, but the role of grammar is to make the prose understandable. If the meaning is clear I can see no reason for pulling them metaphorically apart just because of a misplaced apostrophe.

    However, on signage which has gone through several people, someone should have seen the mistake. I clearly remember a Wakefield café with "PANINI'S" painted on the window.
  • HedgehogHedgehog Shipmate
    My Grammar and my Grampa always told me: "Hedge, as you get older, you will find that there are two types of people in the world--those who know the Queen's English and those who think she is from some other country."

    Once, back on the old Ship, we had a game in the Circus dedicated to deliberately making grammatical errors and then challenging Shipmates to identify the error(s). As I recall, the game didn't last too long (it is difficult to hide grammatical errors), but it was fun for a little bit.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Hedgehog wrote: »
    As I recall, the game didn't last too long

    "Didn't last very long," you mean?

    [Miss Amanda will get her wrap.]
  • Rufus T FireflyRufus T Firefly Shipmate
    edited January 8
    balaam wrote: »
    However, on signage which has gone through several people, someone should have seen the mistake. I clearly remember a Wakefield café with "PANINI'S" painted on the window.

    I can top that. Sticking to Yorkshire, for many years there was a road sign on a major road into Halifax that said "1000 Shopper's Parking Spaces"

    Mrs Teasdale (never one to ignore a feral apostrophe) frequently asked who this lucky shopper was who had all these parking spaces.

    (In our local coffee shop, here in Canada, they have a board with handwritten special offers. It used to be covered with feral apostrophes. Every time Mrs Teasdale went in, she would remove them whilst she waited to be served. Eventually someone got the message - they have all disappeared.)
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    balaam wrote: »
    Using my grammatic crystal ball I can foresee a pond war here. The rules of grammar for the English language are not universal but vary from region to region. Also conversational English differs from the formal written form: Some see online forums (or fora – two correct forms there) as being informal and will post using an informal style.

    I like to play spot the error, but the role of grammar is to make the prose understandable. If the meaning is clear I can see no reason for pulling them metaphorically apart just because of a misplaced apostrophe.

    However, on signage which has gone through several people, someone should have seen the mistake. I clearly remember a Wakefield café with "PANINI'S" painted on the window.

    A misused apostrophe is one thing on a sign that jars me. I figure misspellings might be a store's way of catching the eye, like a bar called "The Meet Market". But adding apostrophes to plural nouns...? Puleeez. :unamused:
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    As an illustration of how punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence, try this one:

    Boris said Theresa may resign.

    There are at least 5 different ways to intone this, all of which can be reflected by corresponding punctuation. Exercise for the student: find them all.
  • How about this: plurals made with and without apostrophes on the same sign.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    edited January 8
    Tukai wrote: »
    Boris said Theresa may resign.

    There are at least 5 different ways to intone this, all of which can be reflected by corresponding punctuation.

    Boris said [that] Theresa may resign.
    Boris, said Theresa may resign.
    Boris said Theresa? May resign.
    Boris said Theresa may. Resign!
    Boris said? Theresa may resign.
    Boris said, "Theresa May: Resign!"
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    And one more: "Boris!" said Theresa May. "Resign!"
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    edited January 8
    Lyda wrote: »
    Secondly, you might watch this in order to get into the mood.
    Weird Al is a genius. I love "Word Crimes." (I would never use the word "spastic," but I understand the demands involved in writing lyrics.)
    The things that I would be interested in getting straight are apostrophes on words that end with S. And more detail on proper use of commas. Thank you in advance, English language mavens.
    I don't like being required to use an apostrophe by itself ("Sibelius' 'Karelia' Suite") with a name or word that ends with an S; I much prefer using an apostrophe plus S ("Sibelius's 'Karelia' Suite); the former just looks cheap and lazy. So I do what's required for work, and I do the correct thing on my own time.

    Here's a link with some useful comparisons.


  • Please never say utilize, just say use.

    Stop nouning verbs.

    Don't respond to questions with "I would say..."

    And don't answer my "thank-you" with "no problem".
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Please never say utilize, just say use.

    Stop nouning verbs.

    Don't respond to questions with "I would say..."

    And don't answer my "thank-you" with "no problem".
    Ahhhh-men!

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    Lyda wrote: »
    Secondly, you might watch this in order to get into the mood.
    Weird Al is a genius. I love "Word Crimes." (I would never use the word "spastic," but I understand the demands involved in writing lyrics.)
    The things that I would be interested in getting straight are apostrophes on words that end with S. And more detail on proper use of commas. Thank you in advance, English language mavens.
    I don't like being required to use an apostrophe by itself ("Sibelius' 'Karelia' Suite") with a name or word that ends with an S; I much prefer using an apostrophe plus S ("Sibelius's 'Karelia' Suite); the former just looks cheap and lazy. So I do what's required for work, and I do the correct thing on my own time.

    Here's a link with some useful comparisons.


    Thanks for the link. It is clear and concise, and I'll never manage to consistently apply either stylebook's rules. :confounded: :wink:
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Weird Al is a genius. I love "Word Crimes." (I would never use the word "spastic," but I understand the demands involved in writing lyrics.)

    Mmmm. Some of Word Crimes is funny, but some of it is just mean. And even though it's hyperbole, and for artistic effect and all that, "get out of the gene pool, you dumb mouth-breathers" doesn't sit comfortably with me.
  • No-one seems to have mentioned that "Panini" doesn't need an "s" as it is plural already. So full marks to this excellent local cafe (which I occasionally use but never utilise) for getting it right: https://tinyurl.com/y85eapv4.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Nouning?

    nouning? is that a word?
  • Us creatives prefer verbing, so I'll gerund if you will.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Please never say utilize, just say use.
    Stop nouning verbs.

    Or verbing nouns! For example whenever we have an Olympics or other big athetics event, our TV commentators go on about our competitors "medalling".


  • rhubarbrhubarb Shipmate
    I cringe when I hear someone announce Jesus's Name rather than Jesus' Name. This is particularly awkward when the speaker has a serious lisp.
  • There is a certain Underground station in London which exhibits (or used to exhibit) precisely that ambiguity in the nameboards displayed along its platforms: "St. James's Park" or "St. James' Park".

    Mind you, one of the signs outside our local station was misspelled: "Stanford Brook" instead of "Stamford Brook".
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    "St. James's Park" or "St. James' Park". ".

    In 1981-2 I used to worship at St James's, Piccadilly.
    The (then) Rector certainly called it St James's, Piccadilly.
    I wonder what Christopher Wren said to Mrs W on returning late for dinner after working on the church's design?
    Of course there may have been people there who thought to themselves or even told their clever little friends that they were worshipping at St James' Piccadilly

  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited January 8
    The evidence: https://tinyurl.com/yaefj7bl. I think the one without the final "s" is older, although it can't be before about 1914 as the Underground roundel was only introduced about then - so has accepted usage changed over the years? According to the website I got this from: "When it first opened on 24 December 1869, tube maps displayed the station as St. James’ Park but in Harry Beck’s 1933 game-changing map it appeared without the apostrophe; St. James Park. It was only after 1951, reflecting a change in punctuation styles, that it transformed into its current form; St. James’s Park".
  • PriscillaPriscilla Shipmate
    Back to the "greengrocer's apostrophe ", I remember a local cafe offering "tea's" and "coffee's".
    And am I the only person who still puts an apostrophe at the beginning of shortened words, e.g. 'Phone?
  • I don't know. Do you spend your holidays in "an hotel" (reached by travelling on an "aeroplane") or tell someone that "the news are bad"?
  • Priscilla wrote: »
    Back to the "greengrocer's apostrophe ", I remember a local cafe offering "tea's" and "coffee's".
    All too common, I fear!

  • Interesting article on the apostroph'e: https://tinyurl.com/y8u5cwhp
  • Interesting article on the apostroph'e: https://tinyurl.com/y8u5cwhp

    Definitely! Three cheers for Keith Waterhouse!

    A few years ago I received a letter, on both sides of an A4 sheet with font about 12, from the Conservative Central Office (circulated to all Party members) and in the second or third line was the word 'past' which should have been 'passed' - and I spotted that immediately, even reading on my CCTV! I phoned them and pointed it out they were quite taken aback and I could almost hear their hearts sinking to their boots ... or perhaps I should say boot's?
  • It's like sung/sang, dwelt/dwelled and so on. And - on a different line (which isn't really grammatical), the difference between "uninterested" and "disinterested".
  • Tukai wrote: »
    Boris said Theresa may resign.

    There are at least 5 different ways to intone this, all of which can be reflected by corresponding punctuation.

    Boris said [that] Theresa may resign.
    Boris, said Theresa may resign.
    Boris said Theresa? May resign.
    Boris said Theresa may. Resign!
    Boris said? Theresa may resign.
    Boris said, "Theresa May: Resign!"
    And one more: "Boris!" said Theresa May. "Resign!"
    And one more:

    “Boris,” said Theresa, “may resign.”

  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    Priscilla wrote: »
    Back to the "greengrocer's apostrophe ", I remember a local cafe offering "tea's" and "coffee's".
    And am I the only person who still puts an apostrophe at the beginning of shortened words, e.g. 'Phone?

    '50s children nearly all use an initial apostrophe.

    On the subject of children, I remember being told off by an English teacher* for using an apostrophe before the s in "children's." She said all plurals have the apostrophe after the s.

    Those who can do, Those who can't teach. - Shaw

    ----

    *A teacher of English.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Us creatives prefer verbing, so I'll gerund if you will.
    Verbing is the term I use. I'm reluctant to have hard and fast rules, as language does make progress, but some churches are too keen on verbing. "Deaconing", as an extension from Priesting is one thing (although Priesting grates to my ear) but "Fellowshipping" sounds like you have put a worshipper in a box and sent him DHL.
  • Sparrow wrote: »
    Please never say utilize, just say use.
    Stop nouning verbs.

    Or verbing nouns! For example whenever we have an Olympics or other big athetics event, our TV commentators go on about our competitors "medalling".


    But this is a hit on linguistic creativity, so words are always being shifted from one class to another, or given new meanings, or used in slang. You might as well ask the sea to stay put.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Verbing nouns, nouning verbs, also nouning adjectives are the stuff that living language is made of.

    It does annoy me, though, when a word changes its part of speech to take the place of, or coexist with, a perfectly good word that already exists. One that especially irks me is "grow" to mean a garden planted with marijuana.
  • You might as well ask the sea to stay put.
    Or to "untide" itself, perhaps.

  • Shakespeare is your main man for verbing and nouning, famous examples include "cowarded", "portcullised", "lip", (verb), but there are plenty.
  • One that especially irks me is "grow" to mean a garden planted with marijuana.
    Sorry - I don't understand this. Plants grow in gardens, people grow plants in their gardens. So what's this special usage?

  • sionisais wrote: »
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Us creatives prefer verbing, so I'll gerund if you will.
    Verbing is the term I use. I'm reluctant to have hard and fast rules, as language does make progress, but some churches are too keen on verbing. "Deaconing", as an extension from Priesting is one thing (although Priesting grates to my ear) but "Fellowshipping" sounds like you have put a worshipper in a box and sent him DHL.
    As Calvin said to Hobbes, "verbing weirds language."

    But it does, as others have noted, have quite the pedigree. That said, I just can't bring myself to use "impact" as a verb.

  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Two personal hates:

    One I have mentioned before: WTF is "overly"? Doesn't "over" cover any possible use? The only word like it is "overtly" which has a totally different meaning.

    "Grow your business" grates to my ears. Surely it should be "expand your business"?


  • I think the idea behind it is that you start your business with a little "seed" (a thought and/or perhaps a small amount of cash) which then grows "organically" in "fertile soil".

    Hmm ... didn't Jesus say something a bit like that?
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    [=I just can't bring myself to use "impact" as a verb.
    You might change your mind if someone near you used it, transitively!

  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    One that especially irks me is "grow" to mean a garden planted with marijuana.
    Sorry - I don't understand this. Plants grow in gardens, people grow plants in their gardens. So what's this special usage?

    "Grow" used as a noun in "marijuana grow", I think. It's actually short for "marijuana grow operation".

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    One that especially irks me is "grow" to mean a garden planted with marijuana.
    Sorry - I don't understand this. Plants grow in gardens, people grow plants in their gardens. So what's this special usage?

    As in "Police discovered a marijuana grow in the mountains near his property." Or "The defendant was arrested for having a marijuana grow in the basement of his house."
  • I've not come across that - a Pond difference perhaps.
  • Grow-op is what they're called locally here.

    re "Police discovered a marijuana grow in the mountains near his property" How high in the mountains? (just ignore me)
  • I got in trouble, years ago, for complaining to corporate HQs for notifying our store that large, new signage would be arriving soon, to replace the old sign . I said there was no such word as "signage", but was informed that there certainly is.

    Menus offer "ice tea", (iced tea) and "mash potatos" (mashed potatos).

    Where I work is named All Saints Church, or All Saint's Church, or
    All Saints' Church

    One more little thing: Sports teams (especially Brit soccer) don't know whether they are singular or plural. Sometimes neither "are" nor "is" sounds right.
    I lied. One really last thing- "very unique" is like nails on a chalkboard.
  • I think that singular/plural thing has often dogged collective nouns. For example, "crowd" seems to take both, and probably similar nouns likewise. They are interesting as they are grammatically singular, and semantically plural.
  • It's also a pond difference. This side of the Atlantic we are using both singular and plural forms of the verbs for collective nouns, but the American preference is for collective nouns to agree with singular verbs - Oxford Dictionaries blog from 2011
  • One that especially irks me is "grow" to mean a garden planted with marijuana.
    Sorry - I don't understand this. Plants grow in gardens, people grow plants in their gardens. So what's this special usage?
    As in "Police discovered a marijuana grow in the mountains near his property." Or "The defendant was arrested for having a marijuana grow in the basement of his house."
    I've not come across that - a Pond difference perhaps.
    More than a Pond difference. I've never encountered it and I'm on the same side of The Pond as Miss Amanda.


  • It's also a pond difference. This side of the Atlantic we are using both singular and plural forms of the verbs for collective nouns, but the American preference is for collective nouns to agree with singular verbs - Oxford Dictionaries blog from 2011

    You are right. It would be interesting to collect exceptions, but I stopped doing damn fool stuff like that when I finished being a dog's body research student. I assume "the police are ..." is OK.
  • That's the first example given in the article - the police are is correct, the police is is incorrect, universally. It does explain why if you need/want to check.
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