Chapter 7

Finale

Some additional gaps and traps

7.1 PRELIMINARY
This 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 APOSTROPHE
Two 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.


Apostrophe abuse
1 The apostrophe must not be used as an alternative spelling of ordinary plurals.

-132-

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The Good Grammar Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Exercises x
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xviii
  • A Brief Note on the Text xx
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Parts of Speech 21
  • Chapter 3 - Inflections 64
  • Chapter 4 - Syntax 77
  • Chapter 5 - Parts of Speech (Advanced) 88
  • Chapter 6 - Punctuation 119
  • Chapter 7 - Finale 132
  • Appendix I 169
  • Appendix II 186
  • Appendix III 193
  • Index 195
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