Some additional gaps and traps
7.1 PRELIMINARYThis is not the 'miscellany of afterthoughts' it might appear but a convenient way of focusing on a number of specific items that have nothing obvious in common apart from the fact that they cause trouble to many. We begin by looking further at something I described in Chapter One as 'almost certainly the most abused, least understood device in the entire spectrum of English punctuation and grammar.'
7.2 MORE ON THE APOSTROPHETwo quick reminders:
|1 All apostrophes denote the omission of a letter or letters. And so …|
|2 … It is incorrect to talk of 'the possessive apostrophe', since the 's construction at issue signifies the dropping of the e from the still-surviving genitive case.|
You may think I'm in danger of becoming obsessive about Point 2: that is at least the third time it has appeared. I've been at pains to stress it not just because it's important in its own right: ignorance of that derivation leads to widespread apostrophe-abuse. Let's see how.
|1 The apostrophe must not be used as an alternative spelling of ordinary plurals.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Good Grammar Guide.
Contributors: Richard Palmer - Author.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: 132.
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