Category Archives: Original Writings
Ok. I’m crying “uncle” here. Enough with the misuse of apostrophes already! C’mon. It’s really not that hard.
- In contractions (don’t, won’t, can’t)
- To show possession (Mike’s, Sally’s, John’s), with one exception. “It’s” is the contraction for “it has” or “it is”. No apostrophe is used to show possession with “it”.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I can’t understand how so many people are getting this wrong lately. I see otherwise seemingly intelligent people writing sentences like:
“There were three horse’s in the stable.”
My brain abruptly stops reading. It’s a shame too because it’s been on a lovely pace where the words have been flowing through my mind like a gentle breeze, and just-like-that, I’m snapped back into reality.
Then, as if I’m not upset enough to have been rudely interrupted, my mind is left to wondering what did three horses leave in the stable and why did they leave it there? What is going on here? It makes no sense!
Now, I’m forced to re-read the sentence only to realize that the author intended to convey that there were three horses inside the stable. They didn’t necessarily keep anything there.
Why? How is this so difficult to get right? I don’t understand. Even the flimsiest of the free spell/grammar-checking programs I could find, flagged this as being incorrect.
Don’t even get me started on the apostrophes used in conjunction with acronyms. There were two VP’s in the room. Again? Why are things being left places? Now, if you meant there were two VPs inside the room you should have said that.
I am not a fanatic. I know that I am of average intelligence and that my grammar isn’t perfect. However, if we begin to let this simple rule slide then what’s next? Allowing the interchangeable use of to, two, and too or there, they’re, and their?
I can’t wait for the day when I come across a sentence like He explained that the car left behind was they’re’s. You’ll know when I do, because the tagline for the news story will be:
You can help stop the cruel misuse of apostrophes by bookmarking and frequenting grammarbook.com
My commute to work takes about 45 minutes. It’s pretty equally divided between highway and town streets. There’s relatively little traffic and I’ve been driving the route for more than ten years. It’s safe to say that one part of my brain can drive it, leaving other parts for day dreaming or just thinking.
For some reason today I was thinking about Dr Seuss books. I adored them as a child. The silly made-up words and the colorful illustrations were too much fun to pass up. Even today, just a few years later, children still laugh at their parents as they get tongue-tied while reading the stories. It’s a simple joy that every child should get to experience.
Anyway, I got to wondering with what Seuss character could I most identify ?, and, well, the thought process went something like this:
The Whos from Whoville: OK. They’re musical, industrious, hardworking, and spiritual. And, I do like to sing. But, how would one find privacy in a place like Whoville? Nope. I could never be a Who. Not even Cindy-Lou Who (who was no more than two). And don’t get me started on all of that noise, noise, noise, noise. On the other hand, they do have Who Hash.
The Grinch: There are a few things I can identify with the Grinch. I think that many times I would prefer to live alone in an inaccessible place with just my dog for company. And, occasionally I do puzzle and puzzle until my puzzler is sore. However, I could never, ever crack a whip at Max, and I don’t think I have the strength of ten Grinches (plus two).
Max: Loveable, humorous, joyful. How could you not fall in love with that pup? Loyal and faithful, even if his owner’s heart is two sizes too small. Just the thought of him makes me smile. But he doesn’t quite fit either.
Horton: Horton kept doing what he believed in. Even when everyone thought he was crazy, he persevered and finally overcame his dissenters without the use of violence. I tend to attempt the same. He’s the one who taught us that a person is a person, no matter how small. However, I don’t know if I have his level of faith in all of humanity as it were. No. I think Horton is a much better person than me.
The Cat In The Hat : To me, The Cat is reminiscent of the mischief my siblings and I would get into when left alone for a couple of hours by our parents. The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so [we’d sit] in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.
It also brings back that horrible feeling when the panic would set in once we realized that our parents were due home at any minute and the house was a wreck. We had one sister who always played the part of the fish. She was the constant that reminded us that we’d pay the price when mom got home. We’d set off at a frantic pace to clean and somehow seemed to pull it off – every time. However, I had my suspicions that mom and dad knew all about it and just smiled to themselves when it happened.
Marco: You remember Marco. Sure you do. He’s the kid that saw all of that stuff on Mulberry Street. I think I can most relate to Marco. When I’m doing menial daily tasks my mind tends to wander. It starts out relatively innocent, but the story builds, and it goes off onto to random tangents. Soon, I’m relating seemingly unrelated things and the excitement builds with each passing thought.
The thoughts then become a noisy parade of colorful characters marching through my brain. And it becomes a wonderful story that no one can beat, when I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street. It all finally builds to a fervor when I decide to share my thoughts with a friend.
But as soon as I think about sharing it, the crescendo fades away and I realize that I’m not able to explain my thoughts and how they interconnect. Even if I could, would he believe me? In the end I settle for something far less appealing, but nonetheless more believable.
So that is the character I think I identify with most. Marco, bored as he walks to school (drives to work) and entertains himself with a fantastical story that he doesn’t know how to share with the rest of the world.
Yep. McDonald’s. The drive-thru to be specific. Several times a week I stop at McDonald’s to get my favorite morning beverage. This particular location is usually busy early in the day, especially the drive-thru. However they’re an efficient team, so cars move quickly through the line and the wait is minimal.
One day last week, even though I was running slightly behind schedule, I decided to stop to get a head start on my caffeine intake. I was the fifth car in line who hadn’t yet placed an order and there were at least four cars in front of me who had. Things weren’t moving as quickly as they normally do. As a matter of fact, they weren’t moving at all.
I looked at the clock. One minute had passed already and no movement. Was I going to be late for work? My mind began to run. Two minutes with no progress. Damn! Should I pull out of the line and head to work?
Then the sun peeked out from behind a cloud and warmed my face through the window. It was nice to feel the sun. In this area we had a dark and frigid winter, and a cold, wet spring. We hadn’t had many chances to enjoy sunlight in the past five months.
I closed my eyes to take in the energy the sun was directing my way, and my mind began to relax. Did it really matter if I was late for work? No. I’m never late and my boss isn’t an ogre so there were no real worries there. Parking might be a problem. But, I was wearing sneakers, the weather was clearing, and it was warming. So what if I had to park further away?
I realized at that point that these anxieties were self-imposed and for no good reason. I made a conscious effort to relax and became aware of a bird singing in the landscaping. I could smell the freshly brewed coffee. Music, as ever, was playing in the background. I was lighter somehow.
It felt like I had been in that state for a long time, when it came to mind that I had a responsibility to those behind me to pay attention to the line ahead of me. I opened my eyes just as the line began to move and things started to run smoothly once again.
Even though it felt like forever, I glanced at the clock to find that my moment of zen had really only lasted a minute or so. I soon placed my order and minutes later I was pulling into my favorite parking spot at work, a little early even.
As I made my way to the front door, I thought about how that change in attitude had impact on the balance of my day. I turned to the sun and thanked Ra for his healing energy. I knew it was going to be a good day – no matter what. And so it was.