TEACHING GRAMMAR – BUT NOT TO SUCK EGGS.


Yeah, yeah – I’ve covered these subjects before. Still I have this missionary zeal to preach them. The first one, I think, represents confusion more often found in bilingual South Africans than in other English speakers. Such lose usage makes me loose my mind! 🙂

 

LOSE AND LOOSE

Though ‘lose’ and ‘loose’ can cause confusion
This tip may give a brain infusion –
What is lost is what you lose,
What comes loose can often ooze! 

APOSTROPHES

If you put one in a plural
Punctuation skills are rural!
(When replacing missing letter,
Then that is a good deal better);
‘Its’ unless ‘it is’ has none –
It’s the way its comma’s done!
Singular possession, dress
Word with comma front of ‘S’;
Plural, after ‘S’ it goes –
Thus the reader number knows;
If with ‘S’ a word should end,
With a further ‘S’ extend. 

On the latter point, I do not agree with the modern trend towards leaving that second ‘S’ out. It makes for sloppy, lazy and risky punctuation. Take, ‘This is Jones’s property’ – a single Jones owns it. ‘Jones his property’ is what you are shortening. Jointly owned by two brothers, you would have, ‘This is Jones’ property,’ or to be ultra-considerate to the reader, ‘This is Joneses’ property.’ Here, the punctuation enables one to add a detail towards understanding which the spoken version does not.

One of the words many argue strongly against adding the extra ‘S’ to is Jesus. Again, I disagree. One needs to leave the ability to distinguish between things owned by a number of Jesuses, or just one. Also, unless one speaks in a sloppy manner, one would tend to pronounce ‘Jesus’s disciples’ as ‘Jesus-ziz’ Thus, why not write it like that? Unless, of course, you are saying ‘in Jesus’ name’, where the ‘-ziz’ is mostly left out. I think it actually represents ‘in Jesu’s name’ when said thus.

If you think about it, an apostrophe properly used is always replacing a missing letter or element, because used for possession it is still there to show something which has been left out – ‘his’, ‘hers’, ‘its’ or ‘their(s)’. Therefore, to use the apostrophe to make a plural look more elegant should be punishable by being shredded slowly, from toes upward, and fed to trolls. 

© July 2012 Colonialist (WordPress/Letterdash)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Language, Really Awful Rhyme, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to TEACHING GRAMMAR – BUT NOT TO SUCK EGGS.

  1. Marco says:

    They should convey your lessons to first graders when they lay down the basics! Its (lots of evil hahahas) silly of them not to!

    Like

  2. paul says:

    I will be shredded!
    Great post

    Like

  3. Granny Blossom says:

    Thanks for clearing that up Col! However I doubt I will ever get it right! As you get irritated by punctuation I do with people who cannot design decent forms. A little thing I know, but still irritating. Hugs for the girls xxx

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      Some of the rules make such sense that they only need to be pointed out to make sense. Others are plain illogical. Anyway, none matter that much unless one needs to communicate with utmost precision. As a writer, I feel that I do have that responsibility.

      Like

  4. Ruth2Day says:

    Grammar for me is as bad as having zits on my face – horrendous. I am truly shocking at it! thank you for the tips

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      Good grammar is something painfully learnt by being lucky enough to be a lot in the company of expert exponents thereof. If one is exposed to bad versions, they tend to stick.

      Like

  5. Alas, my apostrophes are not always where they should be. The one that always confuses me is children’s: an irregular plural. The English language os not always fair and equitable…

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      That used to tie me in knots, too. For one who aspires to be a children’s author, it is one I DO need to get right! English rules generally have the exceptions nearly outweighing the conformists.

      Like

  6. Thanks for this, Col!!

    Like

  7. Pussycat44 says:

    An English teacher friend had these, and similar, poems stuck on the walls around her classroom.

    Like

  8. newsferret says:

    Grammar can be a jammer, but spelling can make one the hellin!

    Like

  9. adinparadise says:

    Excellent post, Col. The misuse of loose and lose, also drives me insane.

    Like

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