a fuctionalist turns Prescriptivist

Today I lost my mind on Twitter and pointed out some often misused words & punctuation marks. For posterity, I will enumerate them again here, having wiped off the overtones of condescension and annoyance.

1. Apostrophe use: some simple guidelines.

  • Apostrophes do not mark plural. Do not use them to mean more than one of anything.
  • Ex: cars NOT car’s; CDs & DVDs NOT CD’s & DVD’s.
  • Apostrophes are not used to mark possessives in pronouns.
  • Ex: “Poor dog, its tongue was hanging out.” vs. “It’s time to leave.”; “Whose book is this?” vs. “Who’s going to the show?”
  • Apostrophes are used to mark possessive on nouns.
  • Ex: “Yes, I have Mary’s phone.” or “The car’s tires need to be rotated.”
  • Apostrophes are used to contract the verb “BE” as IS.
  • Ex: it’s = it is; who’s = who is

2. Who vs. Whom: when and why.

  • The –m in WHOM is a leftover from the regular use of the dative case in the past. Same roots as the –m in HIM. This means very little to most. Just remember that
  • WHOM is only used after prepositions:
  • Ex: To WHOM it may concern; For WHOM the bell tolls.
  • In every other situation, WHO is the correct choice.

3. Irregardless is not a word. It’s a redundant construction. Don’t use it

4. Relevancy is not a word. It’s a redundant construction. Don’t use it.

5. For any questions on spelling, I recommend Dictionary.com. Use it. I do.

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This entry was written by transmitter , posted on Wednesday April 30 2008at 01:04 pm , filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

4 Responses to “a fuctionalist turns Prescriptivist”

  • aw0L says:

    Hear hear! Glad to know that someone else cares about the ubiquitous abuse of apostrophes. I’m not the only one who it drives crazy.

  • aw0L says:

    OK OK you’ve wiped off the overtones of condescenscion and annoyance. And the whole thrust of this class was looking beyond the standardization of language. I can really dig that.

    But damn, seeing so many signs, flyers, memos, and other things where people *just don’t get it* on, especially the apostrophe thing, your vs. you’re, their vs. they’re, etc, really does wear on me.

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