Apostrophe Catastrophes
Moderator
Yutaka 15406 1621
I found an interesting site titled "Apostrophe Catastrophes" Is the subtitle a joke?
Apostrophe Catastrophes The Worlds' Worst. Punctuation;
http://www.apostrophecatastrophes.com

(Edited)
August 2010
  • psychedelica 1522 4217
    Haha, I love mistakes with apostrophes! In Dutch, for example sofa's, is actually correct.. Reminds me of a friend of mine, he is half American, and although his dad never taught him English and they always spoke Dutch at home, he seems to think his American blood gives him magic English powers or something. He doesn't really speak English fluently, but he always corrects everyone (native speakers), and I've had lots of arguments with him about English mistakes.. I always win :D And one time it was because he was convinced the plural of taco is taco's.
    August 2010
    • brucenator us United States 528
      "magic English powers" ha-ha, that's good.

      This topic caught my eye precisely because I am learning Dutch and have found that, when it comes to apostrophes, Dutch is the opposite of English. Aside from times of day ('s ochtends, 's middags, 's avonds, etc.) or with a person's name or mode of address (Lisa's auto; mevrouw's auto; opa's auto), the apostrophe–s is primarily used in Dutch (correct if I'm wrong) for certain plurals: auto's, baby's, drama's, foto's, hobby's, kilo's, risico's, sofa's; whereas English just uses s: cars, babies, tragedies, photos, hobbies, kilos, risks, sofas. More importantly, the s is used in Dutch for ownership: mijn vaders auto; whereas English uses the apostrophe–s: my father's car.

      I once read somewhere that the apostrophe–s is used for certain plurals in Dutch mostly because of pronunciation, not because of a general spelling rule? At one time the plural for cadeau was cadeau's, but no longer? For some reason, some people spell it kado? So the plural would be kado's? Which of course makes very little sense to me. I know what the plural for taco is in English (tacos), but in Dutch, isn't the plural taco's? Oh, yes! (Thank goodness for Wikipedia!) So anyway, I just learn Dutch apostrophe–s plurals as I go along, the same way as I do het nouns: by trial and error. Then I have to constantly remember the adjective rule: het beste hotel is een goed hotel, maar de beste vriend is een goede vriend.
      June 2015
  • Moderator
    SanneT 487 661 343
    Yes, the subtitle is a bit of fun: The world's worst punctuation. Thank you for this link.
    August 2010
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    "Is the subtitle is a joke? "
    The above sentence was not intended to be a joke. It was just a careless mistake. The devil made me do it.
    August 2010
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    @SanneT
    I was not so sure that the subtitle was a joke. Thank you for your reply.
    August 2010
  • [[astamoore]] 0
    Neat.
    August 2010
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    I tried to edit the old post in this thread, and something strange happened. I suppose you see the HTML codes on the screen.

    P.S.
    The codes disappeared.
    August 2014
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    Apostrophe catastrophes are still flourishing!
    August 2014
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    Why is this called a 'classical' mistake?
    "IN EMERGENCY/ PULL HANDEL/ AND PUSH DOOR/ TO OPEN"
    August 2014
    • Jingle us United States 2290 23010 13798
      It is a pun. "Handle" is misspelled as "Handel". Handel is a classical composer.
      August 2014
    • Moderator
      Yutaka jp Japan 15406 1621
      It's referring to Georg Friedrich Händel, isn't it. I see.
      August 2014
  • iaing 27678
    For English - I'm happy to cut people slack when they use an apostrophe for the plural of a food word whose origin isn't English, and, ends in a vowel, and, looks weird with a straight "s" on the end. Similar slack cutting for all acronyms. I think Lynne Truss mentioned the use of a tilda for these occasions, and I think that is also a good idea. I also think -- "it's", "who's" and time related words etc -- should also get some slack, or English should update itself to support. When more people get these things wrong, than right, it's time for the most adaptable language in the world to show its true colours (or, it~s true colors). Also, obviously, dashes for commas etc.
    August 2014
    • Moderator
      Yutaka jp Japan 15406 1621
      I think that creating a new rule is sometimes more difficult than sticking to the old rule, even if English is "the most adaptable language in the world."
      August 2014
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    @iaing
    I wonder whether or not these cases appear more often among native speakers of English than non-native speakers.
    August 2014
    • mkmiller us United States 1253 1252
      I can tell you that grammar mistakes are extremely common in the United States. There are always several mistakes in magazines and newspapers that are ostensibly written, edited, and proof-read by writing professionals. One of the more common mistakes that I see native (U.S.) speakers make more than non-native speakers is knowing when to use "who" and "whom."
      August 2014