Is That Your Endorphone Ringing?

By Wood, Alden S. | Communication World, December 1991 | Go to article overview

Is That Your Endorphone Ringing?


Wood, Alden S., Communication World


Is that your endorphone ringing?

Possessive forms can perplex all of us from time to time, as The Wall Street Journal reminded it's page-one readers on October 10: "Crimson-faced over punctuation? A lavatory at the Harvard Club of Boston is labeled |Mens' Room.'"

Possessive plurals can be extra daunting, witness this newspaper head: "Bushes's drinking water being checked for disease clue." Bushes is the right nominative plural. To make it possessive we need only the apostrophe: Bushes'. The WSJ citation wants for men's.

Why the difference? The possessive form of proper names is made by adding an apostrophe + s to the singular, and an apostrophe alone to a plural: Barbara Bush's husband, the Bushes' residence. With common nouns, make the plural form possessive by adding 's: women's, children's ... unless the plural noun ends in s. Then, add a solo apostrophe: sisters', horses'.

Ancient classical names that end in s traditionally take only an apostrophe to signal possession: Socrates' teaching, Aristophanes' "Lysistrata." Pay particular attention to Achilles when you're writing about tendons and heels. Boston Globe feature writer Larry Tye erred when he told of "the searing soreness (that) moved to my Achille's tendon." Do not invade the name: Make it Achilles' for the possessive - Achilles' heel, Achilles' tendon. (And why we spell tendonitis tendinitis I will not bring up.)

The most outlandish plural form I've seen in years appeared in a booklet that explained how bequests should be made to a certain library: "Be sure to include all of the deceased members full names for whom's memory the Memorial or Gift is given." The possessive of who is whose. Here we need in whose memory. Actually, to make this street-legal we need a massive rewrite. What a perfectly hideous sentence! (My friend Mary Louise Gilman sent it to me. Thanks, M.L. ... I think.)

[N.B. - Before I forget, I confess here to deliberate misuse of it's in my lead sentence. That's a sophomoric ploy that I hope you will forgive, but ... did you recall that personal pronouns in the possessive case - e.g., ours, whose, theirs, hers, yours, and especially its - take no apostrophe? Of course you did ... I knew that.]

But I want to observe that I regularly see "The horse broke it's leg during the jump" and "He couldn't recall who's car was for sale."

* A news story says, "Stanford University led the way (toward diversity and multiculturalism) in 1988, by proposing more non-Western texts in the required freshmen reading lists." Interesting word choice, freshmen. Why the plural form? Would the writer refer to juniors or seniors reading lists? Sophomores? Webster's New World Dictionary displays just what we need: "freshman. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is That Your Endorphone Ringing?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.