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Posts Tagged ‘@GrammarCops’

Candidates for the therapy of  GRAMMARHOLICS (not so) ANONYMOUS … ? Virtual meetings are available regularly!

Be sure to visit our friends over at Apostrophe Abuse, Apostrophe Catastrophes, Apostrophism, and, of course, Apostrophe Police, …

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Say what?

We did a little research on apostrophe use in Mother’s Day and Father’s Day messages floating around cyberspace and …

Mom’s win!

By far, there were more mistake’s for Mother’s than there were foul up’s for Father’s … (of course, our apostrophe abuse is intentional here).

We thought you might get a chuckle at some of our findings, so, here you go:

  • Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely Mom’s!
  • … wishing all the Mommy’s I know a Happy Mothers Day!! (this one could have just moved the mark to Mothers)
  • We have to celebrate our mama’s by the way…
  • … can’t wait to have dinner at moms house. (now, this one needs an apostrophe)
  • Happy Mothers Day to all those amazing Mom’s out there 🙂
  • … happy mother’s day to all d mom’s of d Boston celtics lol! (this one needs some Capitalization help, too)
  • Thank You, Yeah Us Mom’s Do Rock.
  • Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s to Mom’s everywhere! (incorrect, unless his mother is omnipresent)
  • Happy Mother’s DAy to all tha mom’s n soon to b mom’s out there uu deserve it (this one needs some spelling help, too)

Therefore, today’s punctuation concentration is on avoiding that embarassing apostrophe catastrophe

To start, let’s define this little character:

apostrophe. noun. a mark of punctuation ( )used to indicate possessive case or omission of one or more letter(s) from a word.

You may see some sources state that the apostrophe is also used for indicating plurals of abbreviations, acronyms and symbols. We heartily disagree with this usage — we feel that this practice is outdated.

We do like Grammar Book’s baker’s dozen of Rules for Apostrophes, so we’ll refer you to their site for the full details and just give you a summary here, with one addition from us:

Our Apostrophe Rule:

0. Do not use an apostrophe to form a plural. This goes for words, symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms. * (This is related to Rules 5. – names, and 11. – CAPS & numbers used as nouns, below, but more encompassing.)

* Here are examples of misuse according to our rule:

CD-s and DVD-s

SUV-s

PC-s

Grammar Book’s Apostrophe Rules:

  1. Use the apostrophe with contractions.
  2. Use the apostrophe to show possession.
  3. Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.
  4. Use the apostrophe to show plural possession.
  5. Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name. * (We have some people in mind who need to learn this rule!)
  6. Use the apostrophe with a singular compound noun, to show possession.
  7. Use the apostrophe with a plural compound noun, to show possession.
  8. Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.
  9. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose.
  10. The only time an apostrophe is used for it’s is when it is a contraction for it is or it has. (Remember, “its” is a possessive pronoun – no apostrophe.) See photo below.
  11. The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes. *
  12. Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).
  13. If the gerund has a pronoun in front of it, use the possessive form of that pronoun. (Refer to Rule 9. re: pronouns.)

Speaking of rules … we like this … from Trevor Coultart:

it's

Should be its.

Sources: GrammarBook.com, Flickr

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Dear Felicity,

Please see our post: I is not an object …

You have provided several examples to ask your one question. This makes the answer more complex than the one word responses you received on the Web site.

What you ask is, effectively, which should be used as a subject, I or me? “Betty and I (subject) are going out.” is correct here. “Betty and me are going out.” is incorrect. It is not surprising to us that you have heard incorrect usage on TV. We could likely make a living correcting grammatical misuse on TV.

Now, when you move on to your … “Or join Betty and me.” you have changed the question … this is correct because, as we mentioned in our earlier post, “I is not an object …” In this case, me is correctly used as an object.

BTW, we recommend spell checking the title of your post: “… English/grammer

Thank you for your (unknowing) contribution to our blog.

Sincerely,

GrammarCops

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Today there is lots of buzz around usage of use vs. utilize. What fodder for us!

The tweets (from Twitter) that got us started …

@phoefling to @GrammarCops: “*grammar rant* Whatever happened to the word ‘long’? A perfectly good word that’s been replaced by ‘lengthy’. Yuck!”

@Ms_Austen to @GrammarCops: “your description of ‘long’ similar applies to the word use,’ a perfectly good word often replaced by utilize.'”

@mightyredpen to @GrammarCops: “Up there with perfectly good word ‘use‘ being replaced by ‘utilize.’ Ugh.”

@mattimago (a Grammar Police Deputy) to @GrammarCops: “Utilise vs. use: I fully intend (split infinitive!) to utilise any pertinent points you post. I have no use for poor grammar.”

Then, the topic quickly turned to split infinitives … (upon which we shall dutifully follow-up and utilize in a future post). he he

@ChristinaGayle to @GrammarCops: “I like to use split infinitives from time to time. It makes me feel dangerous.”

Although the word utilize has origins as far back as the early 1800s, it seems that the computer age has put this term front and center. And, regardless of its standing as an official word in most dictionaries, it gets some people riled. Consider this usage note from dictionary.com:

Usage Note: A number of critics have remarked that utilize is an unnecessary substitute for use. It is true that many occurrences of utilize could be replaced by use with no loss to anything but pretentiousness, for example, in sentences such as ‘They utilized questionable methods in their analysis’ or ‘We hope that many commuters will continue to utilize mass transit after the bridge has reopened.’ But utilize can mean ‘to find a profitable or practical use for.’ Thus the sentence ‘The teachers were unable to use the new computers’ might mean only that the teachers were unable to operate the computers, whereas ‘The teachers were unable to utilize the new computers’ suggests that the teachers could not find ways to employ the computers in instruction.

use vs utilize

Here’s a simple and functional distinction:

Use is the general word: (What is used often has depreciated or been diminished, sometimes completely consumed: a used automobile; All the butter has been used.) As applied to persons, use implies some selfish or sinister purpose: to use another to advance oneself. Utilize implies practical or profitable use: to utilize the means at hand, a modern system of lighting.

Plus, the dictionary definitions:

use. verb (used with object).

  • to employ for some purpose; put into service; make use of: to use a knife. 
  • to avail oneself of; apply to one’s own purposes: to use the facilities. 
  • to expend or consume in use: We have used the money provided. 
  • to treat or behave toward: He did not use his employees with much consideration. 
  • to take unfair advantage of; exploit: to use people to gain one’s own ends. 
  • to drink, smoke, or ingest habitually: to use drugs. 
  • to habituate or accustom.
  • Archaic. to practice habitually or customarily; make a practice of.

use. verb. (used without object).

  • to be accustomed, wont, or customarily found (used with an infinitive expressed or understood, and, except in archaic use, now only in the past): He used to go every day. 
  • Archaic. to resort, stay, or dwell customarily.

use. noun.

  • the act of employing, using, or putting into service: the use of tools. 
  • the state of being employed or used.
  • an instance or way of employing or using something: proper use of the tool; the painter’s use of color. 
  • a way of being employed or used; a purpose for which something is used: He was of temporary use. The instrument has different uses. 
  • the power, right, or privilege of employing or using something: to lose the use of the right eye; to be denied the use of a library card. 
  • service or advantage in or for being employed or used; utility or usefulness: of no practical use. 
  • help; profit; resulting good: What’s the use of pursuing the matter? 
  • occasion or need, as for something to be employed or used: Would you have any use for another calendar? 
  • continued, habitual, or customary employment or practice; custom: to follow the prevailing use of such occasions. 
  • Law. a. the enjoyment of property, as by the employment, occupation, or exercise of it. b. the benefit or profit of lands and tenements in the possession of another who simply holds them for the beneficiary. c. the equitable ownership of land to which the legal title is in another’s name.
  • Liturgy. the distinctive form of ritual or of any liturgical observance used in a particular church, diocese, community, etc.
  • usual or customary experience.

use. verb phrase.

  • use up, a. to consume entirely. b. to exhaust of vigor or usefulness; finish: By the end of the war he felt used up and sick of life. 

use. Idioms.

  • have no use for, a. to have no occasion or need for: She appears to have no use for the city. b. to refuse to tolerate; discount: He had no use for his brother. c. to have a distaste for; dislike: He has no use for dictators. 
  • make use of, to use for one’s own purposes; employ: Charitable organizations will make use of your old furniture and clothing. 
  • of no use, of no advantage or help: It’s of no use to look for that missing earring. It’s no use asking her to go. Also, no use.
  • put to use, to apply; employ to advantage: What a shame that no one has put that old deserted mansion to use! 

And then there’s …

utilize. verb (used with object). Also, especially British, utilise.

  • to put to use; turn to profitable account: to utilize a stream to power a mill. 

So, our usage recommendation: use use when not useful to utilize :-).

Source: dictionary.com

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This week, on Twitter, we corrected a tweet …

from:

“Proper grammar and punctuation is a turn on.”

to:

@GrammarCops: Proper grammar and punctuation ARE a turn on 🙂

This led to an interesting Twitter conversation with one of our Followers (Tweeps). It went something like this …

@mergyeugnau: But where is the punctuation at the end of that sentence? *heartbroken* 

@GrammarCops: Isn’t the 🙂 acceptable Twitter punctuation? Just like some dot an i with a heart  … can’t we use a 🙂 as a period? Reprieve?

@mergyeugnau: I will accept it as your custom in the future. What is the equivalent of a neologism – a neoregulism perhaps?

@GrammarCops: NEOPUNCTISM

@mergyeugnau:  I think that ‘neopunctism’ is the correct word for a subset of grammatical ‘neoregulisms’ that is specific to punctuation.

We just wanted to share with you this excellent example of neologism, and introduce you to a few neowords of the day:

NEW

neologism. noun.

  • a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.
  • the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.
  • a new doctrine, esp. a new interpretation of sacred writings.
  • Psychiatry. a new word, often consisting of a combination of other words, that is understood only by the speaker: occurring most often in the speech of schizophrenics.

neoregulism. noun.

  • a new law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority (such as Grammar Police a.k.a. GrammarCops, their Deputies and/or Twitter Followers), esp. to regulate grammar or conduct.
  • the introduction or use of new regulations or the state of being neoregulated.
  • Thanks to @mergyeugnau

neopunctism. noun.

  • a new punctuation mark or punctuation usage.
  • the introduction or use of new punctuation or new senses of existing punctuation.
  • a new precept, esp. a new interpretation of sacred punctuation.
  • Twittery. a new punctuation mark or usage, often consisting of a combination of other punctuation marks, that may only be understood only by the Twitterer: occurring most often in the text of schizophrenic Twitterers.

Sources: Twitter (esp. @mergyeugnau and @GrammarCops), dictionary.com

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That’s why we’re here …

gp_logo_new1

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Grammar Police got arrested yesterday! The charge was improper word use, of all things.

We had just received a refund from the IRS, we must have been operating while intaxicated.

Citation detail: using “invoke” when we should have used “evoke.” (See: Headlines)

Arresting authority: Motivated Grammar

Our sentence: community service …

We do, hereby, invoke the mercy of the court:

invoke. v.

  1. To call on (a higher power) for assistance, support, or inspiration.
  2. To appeal to or cite in support or justification.
  3. To call for earnestly; solicit.
  4. To summon with incantations; conjure.
  5. To resort to; use or apply

And, hope to evoke a GrammarGuilt-free world …

evoke. v.

  1. To summon or call forth.
  2. To call to mind by naming, citing, or suggesting.
  3. To create anew, especially by means of the imagination.

We will, however, continue in our present duties and shameless promotion of proper grammar (with your help)!

Thank you.

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