Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Greengrocer's Apostrophe

I hate it with a flaming passion. Just wanted to tell y'all that.

Which brings me to a brief rant I have about grading undergrads' essays. I'll leave off the diatribe about having to grade so many of them so often (though some of you have heard this in person or on email several times already), and concentrate on some of the errors that all but a few students commit from time to time:

1. Fucking Greengrocer's Apostrophe and its apprentice, its/it's. Hate, hate, hate, hate. Apostrophes are for marking possession, not plural! No more sentences like this (made up) one: "The successful samba's in carnival...." MAKE IT STOP.

2. Gratuitous punctuation. Kids, you don't look smart or cool if you throw in semicolons randomly, you look like a typist with a spastic pinky finger.

3. Misused big words. Ditto.

4. "This is due to the fact that...." Shoot me now.

I could go on, but I actually have to go deal with a couple of kids' papers (which, fortunately, aren't the worst of the batch)--but *why* don't college students have more writing skills? Ok, don't answer that....


Rob said...

Heh. What do you think of "The Greengrocer's" as a band name? With the apotrophe of course.

T said...

Ha! Though it strikes me as a tune title more than a band name....

And hell, who needs a new band name when you've got Fuzzy Kittys of Deth? Which I think should be used, even if the next time we play in an ensemble together is as a contradance band. *Especially* if the next time is as a contradance band.

Sophie said...

It's not as bad as "managerese". I know I've already sent you a mail about this, but I'm in a black rage about the mail saying they will help me "upskill for the future".



An Briosca Mor said...

Fuzzy Kittys of Deth is much too mainstream to use as the name for a contradance band. Instead, use it the next time you play the GWCC Ceili, where if not appreciated it will at least be noticed. And have them make out the check to the band, not the individuals.

mike said...

Don't Even Get Me Started On:

- "the following:"
- "comprised of"
- "utilize" (meaning "use")
- "x times more likely" (intending to mean, but actually different than, x times as likely)

And my favorite: "log on to" some web site you don't have to log on to in order to visit, view, look at, check out, etc.,.

You can always blow off editorial steam at www.testycopyeditors.org.

Anonymous said...

Quoting an earlier post: "...Greengrocer's Apostrophe and its apprentice, its/it's. Hate, hate, hate, hate. Apostrophes are for marking possession, not plural."

Well, that's the problem with it's/its. After learning that apostrophes are for marking possession, average Joe assumes that when he means "belonging to it", he should write "it's". It's a reasonable assumption, except that it's wrong.