Thursday, June 21, 2012

Snarks ~ There's Not Chairs!

"Snarks" is another new feature I'm bringing to my bloggy-blog—it's basically my chosen monthly moment to bitch about stuff that irks me. (Yes, I wrote, "monthly." Make of that what you will.)

The title for this post comes from a sentence once thoughtlessly uttered in my presence: "There's chairs over there."

No.

What's wrong with this sentence, people? Let's break apart that first word, "there's." It is the word "there" with an apostrophe and an "s." There are two very basic and common uses for the apostrophe in the English language:

1. To show possession
2. To show omission (as in the case of contractions)

I believe the speaker intended the second thing; that is to say, she meant the contraction for "there is."

This would have been fine if the rest of the sentence had been, "...a chair over there." Breaking it down, what she actually said was, "There is chairs over there."

No. No no no no no. There's NOT chairs  over there. Trust me on this.

"There are  chairs over there," yes.

"There is  chairs over there," no.

NO, DAMN IT.

Gah, you hear this sloppy English all the time, everywhere—sales people do it, politicians do it, even writers and educators  do it! It's uttered on the news, for pity's sake! THE NEWS!  It's so pervasive that people default to it unwittingly.

Well, stop it.

There's another mistaken use of the apostrophe + s, which is a perverted attempt at pluralization that also pisses me off. Banana's, nut's, or chocolate's = wrong. Bananas, nuts, or chocolates = right (oh, so deliciously right!).  See what I did there? I magically multiplied the number of comestibles without abusing any apostrophes. (And not apostrophe's, for the love of all that's holy.)

To see more shocking examples of maltreated apostrophes, check out the Apostrophe Catastrophes blog, if you can bear such horrors.

And if you need a bit of help sorting out other apostrophe uses in this hellish era, check out this nifty little number:


Or take a look at Grammar Girl's essay on the apostrophe here.

Come on, folks—let us all fight the good fight. BE the change you want to see in the world. We can make it a better place, one well-placed apostrophe at a time.

26 comments:

  1. I love this post.

    I particularly enjoyed the apostrophe portion of your rant because I am fight a battle with my co-workers to stop the apostrophe abuse. They constantly label boxes like "short's" or "pant's" and I constantly go around behind them, scribbling out the apostrophe while lecturing them on why it isn't right.

    It has made me very popular at my day job.

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    1. I knew I'd found a kindred spirit in you, MJ. ;-)

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  2. The moment I saw the sentence "There's chairs over there, my inner writer cringed. I hate misuse of the English language. Just ask my husband, who isn't the best about using English properly. He's gotten used to me correcting him over the years.

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    1. I have the same cringe reaction when I see (or hear) these kinds of errors. ::shudders:

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  3. This post made me laugh, I'm not very good at apostrophes, I mean, I know the basics about there's (there is), how's(how is) etc but get confused when it comes to 10 years' experience etc I never know whether it should go on the outside or inside! I do try though! :)

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    1. I applaud your conscious efforts, Dina. :-) There are still things I have to check 'cause I'm not entirely sure if the grammar's right or it suddenly looks horribly, hideously wrong to me. (I asked my sister to read this through to catch any inadvertent slip-ups 'cause, like - how embarrassing would *that* have been!) ;-)

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  4. That was tremendous reading! I love that you are a grammar fascist. A woman after my own heart. Keep it coming lady!

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    1. LOL, I'm a fascist! (Finally, someone with the guts to say it!) ;-)

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  5. LOL!!!! I am like you...grammar and spelling errors drive me nuts. My biggest pet peeve, when 'your' is used instead of 'you're'. HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!! And when people say I love the 80's. You love the 80's what...fashions? Or the 80s themselves? Sometimes I do dangle my participles.

    The most egregious pronunciation error I ever saw, from a news anchor no less, was when Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' painting was stolen. She pronounced his name 'Edward Munch' instead of Edvard Moonk'. I fired off an email so fast to that Seattle news station!!!

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    1. ROTFL, JoJo - I must admit to being an occasional dangler, too. :-)

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  6. YES! I definitely need to be careful with the 's. The French sprinkle apostrophes into their writing like croutons and they end up creeping into my English writing when I'm not focusing. For example, the simple word "today" = "aujourd'hui" in French o_O. I'll never understand why the French have to make everything so complicated.

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    1. I have to say, Elise, I do enjoy that aspect of the French language - it's so agreeable to make fun of things like a 3-syllable word, "maintenant," meaning the 1-syllable word "now." :-D (OK, OK, to be fair, the Portuguese also have the 3-syllable word, "agora" BUT we also have the more expedient "ja.")

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  7. I am SOOOO going to crush grammer and grammper when we meet in person! I'll be speaking so wrong your ears will fall off. On a more serious note...nah nevermind. I ain't never beened serious, why start now.
    How one speaks is often a matter of what they heard growing up.
    Now, how one expresses one's self when writing, that's a different (for us purest, "whole n'other") story. It's sufficient to say "Misspelling or mispunctuation in writing is tantamount to being a selfish lover". (don't ask how I came to that conclusion, I'm grasping at straws here)In any case, I hope I made neither sense nor point, in this space. I just wanted to bug Mina.
    p.s. fortune cookie lives.

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    1. For the record, though I do take pains with my writing, I am a completely selfish lover and I don't care who knows it. :-)

      And LOL, Cookie - "grammer and grammper." You MAD man, you!

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  8. lol - you are certainly on a roll (tempted to write role) - somewhere I have a pic collection of crap US signs and crimes against the apostrophe that should be dusted off - love the post.

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    1. Thanks, David - it appears to have struck a bit of a chord with folks! (And here I thought it was just me.)

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  9. I especially find it annoying when my kids' teachers send emails or letters home with bad grammar.

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  10. Excellent post. And yes, I make errors like this. I try not too, but I do, damn it! Have a great weekend.

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    1. The coolness of your first name ameliorates the heinousness of your crimes, Ms. Burrows. ;-)

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  11. Excellent snark material! This drives me nuts. Equally crazy making are incidents of intentional misspelling, i.e. business names, etc. Just last week, I was looking up a phone number for a local store and couldn't find it because they spell the word quick as Kwik in the business name. Grrrr!

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    1. Hah! You made me think of the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store from The Simpsons. ;-)

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  12. Yes! I am so on board with this initiative. :)

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  13. Oh that drives me crazy too! I could go on and on about grammatical issues that get under my skin. If you are ever in need of material....
    On a happier note, I have left you an award on my blog. Have a great weekend

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  14. Killer post! I can't wait to read your monthly snarks! :)

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  15. Thanks, y'all. And thanks to Heather for the award! :-)

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