For the grammar police with extra time on their hands....

John

So there is a conference about equal rights and progress for women that is going on in Detroit. Why is it a women's conference and not a womens' conference?


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unicorn33

Because women is plural, and there is no such word as womens.


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DaveSchmidt

An exception, in some lexicographical quarters: womens wear or womenswear.


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drummerboy

Google returns 3/4 of a billion hits on womens. I think the battle has been lost.


unicorn33 said:

Because women is plural, and there is no such word as womens.



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mjc

The whole battle on apostrophes is in a very bad way.  Lots of ' where none belong(s?), and lots missing where you'd like to see them.


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drummerboy

I often stick an apostrophe on the end of a word (actually, usually an acronym) as a way to pluralize it, but I'm not sure it's correct.

e.g. how do you make PC plural? I would write PC's instead of PCS.

mjc said:

The whole battle on apostrophes is in a very bad way.  Lots of ' where none belong(s?), and lots missing where you'd like to see them.



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DaveSchmidt

Anybody looking for cut-and-dried, always-this-or-always-that direction in all things grammar is on a fool's errand.


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DaveSchmidt

PCs, but, say, for a list of vowels: a's, e's, i's, o's and u's, because as, es, is, os and us would be indecipherable.


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joanne

if I had to make a professional decision, I’d write the vowel in cap with the s in lower, thereby distinguishing .the letter and the number-form. But I’m not sure I’d write a sentence that would need to pluralise PC without recasting the sentence to make more sense. 

We shouldn’t require apostrophes to ever designate plurals, since the apostrophe signifies something is missing. (In ownership, it signifies a bunch of words have been dropped)

But then, all writing is merely making marks in code. As long as your intended audience understands your code, the communication is successful.


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DaveSchmidt


joanne said:

if I had to make a professional decision, I’d write the vowel in cap with the s in lower, thereby distinguishing .the letter and the number-form. But I’m not sure I’d write a sentence that would need to pluralise PC without recasting the sentence to make more sense. 

An editor's best friend: The Workaround.

We shouldn’t require apostrophes to ever designate plurals, since the apostrophe signifies something is missing. (In ownership, it signifies a bunch of words have been dropped)

At some point, while minding your p's and q's or dotting your i's, you always run into a trap and conclude there's no better way.

But then, all writing is merely making marks in code. As long as your intended audience understands your code, the communication is successful.

Preach.


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shoshannah

PCs

drummerboy said:

I often stick an apostrophe on the end of a word (actually, usually an acronym) as a way to pluralize it, but I'm not sure it's correct.

e.g. how do you make PC plural? I would write PC's instead of PCS.

mjc said:

The whole battle on apostrophes is in a very bad way.  Lots of ' where none belong(s?), and lots missing where you'd like to see them.



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shoshannah

unicorn33
said:

Because women is plural, and there is no such word as womens.

Yes, of course. If the plural of woman was womans (as in, "There are three womans on the board of directors), then the plural possessive would be womans'.

Also see: children's, men's, media's, teeth's


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unicorn33

And it gives half a million results for "ladie's room." Illiteracy is rampant. Your/you're, its/it's, their/there -- these are confused constantly. And next time you come across a "girls' night out" reference, look to see where the apostrophe is, if there even is one.

drummerboy said:

Google returns 3/4 of a billion hits on womens. I think the battle has been lost.




unicorn33 said:

Because women is plural, and there is no such word as womens.



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galileo

The one that gets me is" its". If you put an apostrophe it means" it is". I see it all the time. The teacher in me goes crazy.


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joanne

Dave S, I’m not not sure I’m receiving your tone correctly. There are major differences between how the US and Commonwealth/Queen’s English grammar work, and perhaps this is one of those instances. 

When you’ve been involved in compiling and editing dictionaries, you get to realise just how flexible the rules actually are because of the starting premises (which are usually unstated by most writers). (I’ve been involved in the compilation, editing and proofing of three letters in the Macquarie Dictionary throughout the 1990s) All grammar is in a state of flux; we have to learn to flow with it...


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DaveSchmidt


joanne said:

Dave S, I’m not not sure I’m receiving your tone correctly.

Must be my fault, then, because we're in agreement ("Preach!"), with the caveat that despite one's best intentions, sometimes an apostrophe'd plural is all but unavoidable (ps and qs and dotted is).


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joanne

All’s good then  blank stare - it was anyway, I just needed to be clear. 

(I’d typed more but lost most of the comment. Aussies don’t use ‘Preach!’ In this way)


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drummerboy

personally I don't get too upset about these usages. (its and it's not withstanding - but it's a tough rule to remember for people who are not very active writers. I write a lot and I often mess it up.)

Language is fluid and evolving and should not be stuck in the mud. And embracing new usages is certainly not "illiteracy".


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unicorn33

Using your when you mean you're or their when you mean there is not new usage. It's just wrong. And don't even get me started on irregardless!

drummerboy said:

Language is fluid and evolving and should not be stuck in the mud. And embracing new usages is certainly not "illiteracy".



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DaveSchmidt


joanne said:

All’s good then  blank stare - it was anyway, I just needed to be clear. 

(I’d typed more but lost most of the comment. Aussies don’t use ‘Preach!’ In this way)

I'm afraid, however, that contracting "had" is where I must draw a line.  blank stare 


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joanne

I am agreeing with the last few examples: there’s laziness, there’s relying on spellcheck, and there’s ignorance. 

It’s interesting to note that apparently the combination of turning actual pages, while reading, helps to fix both comprehension and memory in the brain. Also apparently the act of writing, as opposed to typing/keyboarding, helps to fix reading comprehension while learning a language. (According to fMRI studies)


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kthnry

Even the NY Times gets it wrong sometimes, especially after they eliminated a lot of editors a few weeks ago.


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lizziecat

Oh, oh, oh!  From the Times?  Life, as we know it, is over!


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joanne

Didn’t a couple of their very senior editors (known for depth of in-house style conventions and eagle-eyed scrutiny pre-press) retire in the last couple of months??


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kthnry


joanne said:

Didn’t a couple of their very senior editors (known for depth of in-house style conventions and eagle-eyed scrutiny pre-press) retire in the last couple of months??

The NYT cut back on editing in June. I don't know if the two editors you're thinking of retired voluntarily or were bought out. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/business/media/new-york-times-staff-members-protest-cuts.html


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joanne

regardless of the reasons why they left, their knowledge and expert eyes are obviously missed, not to mention their insistence on corrections. 


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unicorn33

A proofreader should have caught that Times error. Those kinds of errors are common in the Star-Ledger, especially with their reduced staff.


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joanne

unicorn33, they don’t employ proofreaders any more unless it’s for very expensive display ads. 


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unicorn33

Not even freelancers?

joanne said:

unicorn33, they don’t employ proofreaders any more unless it’s for very expensive display ads. 



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unicorn33

Well, if your rite and their not highering anymore proofreaders, than well be reeding more sentences like this, which is to bad.


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