Re: forbidden to apostrophize

Subject: Re: forbidden to apostrophize
From: Randy Grandle <randy -dot- grandle -at- CORP -dot- SUN -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 22:27:02 GMT

Michal Lastman <michall -at- aks -dot- com> writes:

>The only other technical writer at my office has joined sides with the
>editor who bans apostrophes. He says that contractions are a sign of
>"sloppy" writing. He insists inanimate objects can't use an apostrophe to
>show possessive because objects can't possess and for clarity and
>consistency, I shouldn't use possessive forms with people's names either. He
>referred me to the "Chicago Manual of Style" in which I have yet to find
>such a rule but have instead found several examples that contradict him.
>However my boss remains unconvinced.

Apostrophes are a part of the English language. The use of Apostrophes
has been established by convention for a long, long time.

The use of contractions can be a problem if too informal or if
unfamiliar to the audience. However, these days common English
contractions are taught to people who learn English as a second
language, so the use of appropriate contractions should not cause

You may eliminate the use of all contractions if you really want to
play it "safe." However, formal English syntax uses apostrophes to form
posessives. To completely ban apostrophes is to ban perfectly
good english.

Randy Grandle

Project Lead Writer
Sun Professional Services

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