Tag Archives: spelling

The Unheard Cries of A Misplaced Apostrophe by Felix O’Shea


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Posted on January 18, 2013

Poor little apostrophe. He knows his place, and more importantly, he knows when he’s not in it. Some, or all, will say that it isn’t really too important, and that as long as you get the gist of what is meant, then the grammatical semantics of the written word can probably fall by the wayside. However, if the boat of proper grammar truly is sinking, then I would rather let the weight of a million neglected semi-colons and brackets pull me down to the dreary depths of the abyss, than abandon ship and take refuge upon the misplaced and miserable apostrophe that hangs lifeless between the O and the S in the word: photo’s, or cling to safety upon the second f in the word of.

Now in writing this, I just want to assure anyone reading that I am not trying to seem patronising, nor am I pretending to be an expert; I can assure you that I’m not! I do, on occasion, get quite baffled with so many of the finer and seemingly more insignificant points of english grammar: a possessive of a plural, apostrophes on names that already end in ‘s‘, and so on, but what I’m trying to speak in favour of is the feeling that you needn’t be wrong, it doesn’t take that much effort to look it up and, let’s be honest, abbreviating and misspelling words in text messages really doesn’t save that much time!

Also, since I mentioned saving time, I may as well have a quick rant about how utterly, utterly stupid it is to replace a few letters with a number, or a word with a letter. I will of course concede that great is indeed two characters longer than gr8, and that if someone wrote b4 in a certain context, I would be able to deduce that they meant before; and I dare say that if ever I read “U R L8!”, I would probably be able to extract the meaning of that as well, albeit amidst a flurry of rage; but are we really in such a hurry all the time that we just can’t spare the fraction of a second lost by writing you’re instead of ure? It’s trying to look cool, because people think proper English isn’t. It’s the grammatical equivalent of wearing sunglasses at night.

There are a lot of aspects of our fine language that can baffle some, for instance the eternal battle between then and than (simple answer: then is chronological; than is comparitive. E.g. I grabbed the chicken nugget that was bigger than all the rest, and then I ate it.), and I understand that it is an effort to remember it all, but it simply pains me to see people who lack the linguistic skills to convey their points; and it makes me sad, because I know that joy that it brings me to properly convey my own.

Always remember, a well placed apostrophe is a happy apostrophe; and you’re never too busy to write a legible text message.

Repost of The Unheard Cries of A Misplaced Apostrophe

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“You’ve Got Mail” by Judith Baxter


Being an Indian now I wonder when the Republic of India would be given such a notice of revocation of her independence. – T.V. Antony Raj
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Judith Baxter

By Judith Baxter

Posted on July 9, 2012 in I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

Queen Elizabeth

Here is today’s email..

To            The Citizens of the United States of America
From       Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,
Subject   Greetings.

In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.  A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

  1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’  Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters,  and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’  Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up ‘vocabulary’
  2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of  ‘-ize.’
  3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
  4.  You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.
  5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
  7.  The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
  8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
  9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of  known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
  10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.  Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
  11. You will cease playing American football. There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby (dominated by the New Zealanders). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
  12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (World dominators) first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
  13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
  14.  An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
  15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
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