Friday, April 07, 2006

Gallery of Bad Punctuation

As anyone who has used the on-line personal ads knows, the sites are a goldmine of superfluous quotation marks and misplaced apostophes. Some guy just contacted me, but because he's a gentleman who seek's a special lady, I just can't get excited about his blurry photos and cliched self-description. I can't help it -- inappropriate apostrophes chill me. I am a former English teacher, after all. A girl has to have some standard's.

[This just in: an ad for a guy who says his eye's are bright. Stop the madness! - P.B.]
[This just in, 4/9, man from neighboring community writes, "sharing a bottle of wine... lot's of kisses" - Lord, will it never end? - P.B.]

Please enjoy this while I return to the literary and sermonic salt mines:


Blogger Hunt said...

Well, if it helps you out, the apostrophe is probably a mistake anyway. The story, which is controversial, is that the possessive apostrophe is a result of an error of standard-setting typesetters who were trying to agree on how to represent English.

Here is the story. Old English had many inflections lost through the years, but it happened that all genders ended in an "s" sound when they were possessive, so this hung on. Standard setters were in doubt as to why this was so - after all, they thought English was a degenerate form of Latin instead of a variant of German.

But then they realized that there is a form of possession - unusual, it's true -- that uses the word "his" as possessive. Examples include "for Jesus Christ his sake" and "John Smith his book." So they figured, hey, "'s" stands for "his." No matter this leaves out the women (Queen Elizabeth his sake?)

Anyway, they knew when you leave out letters, you show the omission for an apostrophe, so that's what they did. Now, no matter how little sense it makes, it acts as a shibboleth, keeping ad writers from a night of bliss and you from a rejuvenating roll in the hay.

Incidentally, the only three common inflections in English are the plural, the third person singular verb conjugation, and the possessive. Notice anything? They all are "s" sounds. No wonder when you teach kids apostrophes they start putting them in everywhere they inflect.

Can't believe you actually read this posting all the way through. Cheers, and give those illiterates a second chance. Maybe they have great pecs.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Hunt! I KNEW you would comment! Yay!
(P.S. I am doing the Tuesday lecture with SOPHIE!)

But listen -- about the menfolk -- I promise you there's more missing than just proper punctation. When the right pecs come along (with some charisma and brain power to go along with them), I know I won't give a hang about spelling.


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