Punctuation and Other Missteaks

I am not a linguist, a grammarian, or a teacher, nor do I play any of those on television.  However, I am a good speller (city-wide champion in eighth-grade back in 1976 – – you do the math), and I try not to mistreat the English language too much.  One thing I am especially careful not to do is to abuse apostrophes (commas and dashes are on their own, as you can see).

Sitting through a presentation yesterday I nearly lost consciousness after being beaten about the head and shoulders by apostrophes strewn around PowerPoint slides like dead bugs on a windshield (“tech’s” for “technicians,” “x’s” for “times,” for example).  Whenever I see an apostrophe being abused I feel its (no, No, NO! not “it’s”) pain.  A sign in someone’s front yard on the way home:

Puppy’s for sale

I wanted to march up to the front door and demand what belonged to the puppy that they were now offering for sale, and how the puppy felt about this.  I didn’t, of course, because I really like having my own teeth (in my mouth, that is).

And in the supermarket bakery section:

Crusty Boule’s


But the worst offense to apostrophes, I believe, is in mistaking the second person possessive pronoun for the contraction of “you are.”  I cringe when I see “your welcome” (what?) or “your my hero.”

Stop!  Just stop!!  Panda says NO!

Alright, alright, I admit it, I’m a stickler and a pedant.  We all have our faults.  Just ask Lynne Truss.


2 thoughts on “Punctuation and Other Missteaks

  1. The standard of English – punctuation, spelling and grammar – is deteriorating year by year, and something needs to be done to reverse that trend.

    This is part of the reason for my recently starting up a new business: Simply Words Editing Services (www.simplywords.co.uk ).

  2. Thanks. Just a reminder from the “Rules of the Road” for this site:

    8. Money. This website is a noncommercial enterprise. A friendly recommendation about a product or service is okay, but this is not the place for a sales pitch. Try the blog two doors down.

    I agree that our standards are deteriorating: Our daughters are bright, do very well in school, are voracious readers, and good writers, but have not had enough instruction in grammar in public school, which does them a real disservice. I also understand that language changes over time, but I think there is also a significant difference between the slow evolution of language and pure carelessness and ignorance.

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