04-23-12, 11:07 PM #1
I've noticed a growing trend in internet posts, what I will call the liberal use of apostrophes.
I learned that the apostrophe signifies a possessive, for instance a question like: "Whose book is this?" would have an answer maybe like: "That's Fred's book." Notice there are two words with apostrophes, the first, "That's", stands for "that is", the second, "Fred's", stands for the possessive case of a noun.
Using an apostrophe with plurals is just wrong. You don't say: "the Physic is and Math forum", do you? Or "the Physic has and Math forum". You don't use apostrophes when you want to signify a plural noun, so it's (i.e. it is): "the Physics and Math forum". Both nouns are pluralised but the second is abbreviated (it should properly be spelled Mathematics).
Unless you really want to adopt the use of apostrophes a la the internet, in which case any word ending in "s" should have one just before it (then you'll be apostrophising correctly at least some of the time).
Doe's that make sense? You can alway's just wing it, I gues's.
Keep trying though, it's what make's it fun, right?
04-24-12, 01:24 AM #2
04-24-12, 02:36 AM #3
Originally Posted by Cavalier
A lot of people seem to think plurals should have an apostrophe because I see them using one. That's my point.
04-24-12, 03:01 AM #4
The very slight oddity is that we usually convert the plural to the singular use a singular noun in that way. A "soup with beans" is a "bean soup" rather than "beans soup." A toy for dogs is a "dog toy." "Physics" merely sounds plural, which may be the source of the confusion. Just as we can have a dog collar or a dog's collar, the added "s" may trigger the notion that the term is plural.
04-24-12, 10:30 AM #5
So now physics is just one science, so we treat it as a singular noun, like mathematics. Other -ics words are following suit slowly, such as logistics. So we write physics's laws instead of physics' laws, just as we write Mr. Jones's hat instead of Mr. Jones' hat. And we pronounce them that way. Physics's is 3 syllables: FIH-zik-suhz. Jones's is 2 syllables: JOAN-zuhz.
There is understandable confusion over this matter of style. In the 1980s news editors launched a frantic campaign to save space in their articles so they'd have more to sell to advertisers. As a result, they actually did start writing physics' and Mr. Jones', especially in headlines. Worse, they came up with such atrocities as "Mr. Gomez' new office" and "the seamstress' delicate work." They figured that if Jesus' is okay, then it can be the model for all other nouns ending in any sort of sibilant. Jesus' is, in fact, a noteworthy exception, going back to the days when English spelling was chaotic and the King James Bible was one of the few written works that had been standardized. It has the fragile supporting argument that preachers often pronounce it that way, as two syllables instead of three.A lot of people seem to think plurals should have an apostrophe because I see them using one. That's my point.
The Germanic languages use compounding as a tool for vocabulary expansion; most of the other Indo-European languages use it sparingly and clumsily, if at all.
Spanish, for example, actually builds its compounds on the "beans soup" model, retaining all inflections. Matar is "to kill" and golpe is "a blow." But the accessory on your car that deflects blows (what we call a bumper) is not a matgolp. It is a matagolpes: "kills blows." Needless to say, there are very few compounds in Spanish because they ain't worth the trouble.
German is a moderately inflected language (it may appear highly inflected to us, but hold it up against Spanish or Russian) and this somewhat impairs their word-compounding--ooh, I just made up a new one! There are a lot of "noise syllables" in German compounds, remnants of cases for nouns and adjectives or modes for verbs, so their compounds can get pretty long.
Our compounding is more efficient, often using one-syllable components, except when our scientists and philosophers borrow words from Latin and Greek. So we have "tele-vision," Greek "far" combined with Latin "sight," whereas those polysyllable-loving Germans beat us out with a two-syllable word, Fernseh, which is the same words but in German.
Last edited by Fraggle Rocker; 04-24-12 at 10:35 AM.
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