Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uncomma Logic from Mr. Language

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uncomma Logic from Mr. Language

Article excerpt

IT IS time once again for "Ask Mister Language Person," the only grammar column to have won both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Indianapolis 500.

We shall begin today by reviewing the correct use of the apostrophe, which is defined grammatically as "the little thing that is hard to find when you put it inside quotation marks," as is shown in this example: ""'.

Even top professional writers have trouble with apostrophes, as we see in this quotation from William Shakespeare: "O Romeo, Romeo "Your lookin' fine in them tight's." This is incorrect, of course: Shakespeare has used the word "your" as a participial infraction, which requires an apostrophe, as we see in this corrected version: "O Romeo, Romeo "You're buttock's are highly visible in them tight's." A lot of people have this problem, which is why it is important to remember the Three Rules For When To Use Apostrophe's: 1. TO INDICATE CONTRACTIONS. Example: "This childbirth really hurt's!" 2. IN HERPETOLOGICAL PHRASES. Example: "There's snake's in the Nut 'n' Honey!" 3. IN LETTERS TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Example: "Dear Moron's:" Please have these rules tattooed on your biceps, because Mister Language Person is getting tired of correcting people and may soon turn the whole matter over to the police. Now let's take a look at some other grammar questions that have poured in to the Institute of Grammar Institute from readers all over the world: Q. Has anybody ever used the word "penultimate" correctly? A. Not since 1949. Q. Recently, did your research assistant Judi Smith make a grammatically interesting statement regarding where her friend, Vickie, parks at The Miami Herald? A. Yes. She said, quote: "She comes and parks in whoever's not here's space that day." Q. Can that sentence be diagrammed? A. Not without powerful pharmaceuticals. Q. Can you please quote the caption to a newspaper photograph from The Associated Press, sent in by Patricia Lees, showing a man throwing some kind of whitish substance? …

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