Friday, 13 August 2010

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes & Sucklings - and Councillors!

From what is entitled "Richard Willis's Blog" comes this gem on the subject of quangos:
".....bodies established firstly to remove responsibility (and by extension, blame) from Ministers, and secondly to be seen to be doing something. Some of them have evolved into monstrous bodies spending hundreds of millions of pounds and with senior staff on salaries several times that of the Prime Minister."
Bit like councils/local authorities then, Richard?

Digressing as is my wont - according to Wikipedia, discussion rages in that "If a singular noun ends with an /s/ or a /z/ sound (spelled with -s, -se, -z, -ce, for example), practice varies as to whether to add 's or the apostrophe alone. A widely accepted practice is to follow whichever spoken form is judged better.." Now I was always taught that where, especially with a person's name, the word ended with an 'S' then the apostrophe only was added - a form I use to this day.

Mind you, it is a fact that when I was at school English Language and punctuation was taught by those who both wrote and spoke the language properly -  and thus knew their subject!

4 comments:

TheFatBigot said...

I was taught that it's apostrophe only where the word is plural and apostrophe + S where the word is a real noun or singular.

Like all these things we can only look foolish by being dogmatic. Language is dynamic whether he like it or not (and most of the time I don't).

The Boiling Frog said...

I think you're being slightly pedantic here WfW. There's no hard and fast rule regarding this. (arguments have gone on for years about the need for the extra "s"). It's more a question of style for me.

For example the ultimate authority Fowler's, states that the "s" is required after the apostrophe when it's a persons name.

But of course in actual usage there are many variations to this rule that are widely accepted, for example; St James's Park, London and St James' Park, Newcastle (football stadium).

It's not a rule that bothers me too much either way.

James Higham said...

Now I was always taught that where, especially with a person's name, the word ended with an 'S' then the apostrophe only was added - a form I use to this day.

Absolutely but with St James' or St James's, the jury always was out on that one.

Witterings From Witney said...

As James illustrates (we are of roughly the same generation - well nearly) we were taught the correct method. You 'youngsters' have suffered with the dumbing down of educational standards!