I stand corrected

In: Personal

20 Apr 2004

Email from an anonymous visitor:

Just to inform you, your tagline — “rambling’s of a misfit” is misspelled. It should be spelled “ramblings.”

Ouch. I always thought I knew my apostrophes. Like how there is no apostrophe in “CDs” (it’s not “CD’s”) – short for “compact discs”. And the possessive form of “it” is “its” (no apostrophe). “It is”, however, can be shortened to “it’s”. Blah.

Thanks for pointing out my oversight.

11 Responses to I stand corrected

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Rob

April 20th, 2004 at 5am

Gesh. As if English is your native language or something.

;-)

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Doug

April 20th, 2004 at 6am

Actually, there is no single rule on the plural of CD. When writing for publication or for school, the rule is to follow whatever the “house” rules are: MLA, Chicago, AP, APA, and/or local style manual. When writing for yourself, you can do as you please :-)

Or, as quoted here, “This is more a matter of taste and readability than of grammar, and frankly, we have better things to worry about.”

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Cheah Chu Yeow

April 20th, 2004 at 1pm

Rob: English is the language that I’ve used at home ever since I learnt to speak so I’m quite “native” to English (in the non-strict usage of the word “native”). The only other language I speak is Mandarin.

Doug: I didn’t know that. It has been pointed out to me many times that apostrophes after acronyms are wrong and abuse of punctuation. Can this Dr. Grammar be trusted? ;)

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Rob

April 20th, 2004 at 1pm

Oh trust me Chu Yeow! After attempting to read your thesis, I know you command English better than I!

That was a poor attempt at being funny. Please excuse me.

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Cheah Chu Yeow

April 20th, 2004 at 3pm

*Gasp* You actually read that?

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Syam Kumar

April 20th, 2004 at 5pm

Its OK. Everybody make’s mistake’s sometime’s. :p

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Sam

April 20th, 2004 at 5pm

The first ever comment on my blog was from some pedant pointing out a spelling mistake. I was not best pleased…

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Cheah Chu Yeow

April 20th, 2004 at 6pm

In my case, I was pleased that someone actually bothered to point my mistake out (so I really mean my thanks to the anonymous visitor).

My point was, if any, was that I wasn’t pleased at myself for making such a silly mistake.

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Rob

April 20th, 2004 at 9pm

Gasp You actually read that?

Well, I attempted to.

Truth be known, I made two or three pages into it, then finished by looking at the rest of the pretty pictures.

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Doug

April 24th, 2004 at 12am

Kids go to college, they learn the college’s style manual (usually MLA), and they come away with the notion that they now know the One True Way.

Although much of English grammar, spelling, and punctuation is generally agreed upon, there are situations that are in disagreement between style manuals. One of those situations is forming the plurals of numbers, letters, abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms. Chicago Manual of Style says use Ph.D.’s, the AP style guide says it’s Ph.D.s, and MLA says it’s PhDs.

The case of CD is a bit simpler than most because it is more like a trade name than an initialism, it is always capitalized, and the last letter (D) is always a capital. You would never write CD., C.D., Cd, Cd., C.d., cd, cd., or c.d. For this case, most style manuals would recommend CDs as the plural, at least when CD is not italicized.

A related case is when a word is used out of context as a noun, as in: no ifs, ands, or buts. Depending on the style manual, it might be ifs, if’s, or if‘s. Note in the last case that the ‘s is not italicized.

That example brings up another commonly encountered disagreement between style manuals: most call for a comma after ands, but AP says not to put a comma there. Oh look, this time ands is italicized but has no apostrophe. :-)

The moral is: consult the applicable style manual. If the piece that you’re writing doesn’t have a mandated style manual, then do whatever is most readable.

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Lee

April 24th, 2004 at 4pm

On the topic of punctuation, read “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss. It’s a damned good book. I was amazed at how amusing such a dry subject could be. :-)

ISBN: 1592400876