Smash the Apostrophistry! (was Re: Blasted Apostrophes (Was Years v. Years'))

Subject: Smash the Apostrophistry! (was Re: Blasted Apostrophes (Was Years v. Years'))
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 17:21:53 -0600

No, I have not been drinking on the job. But it couldn't hurt...

Virginia Hayden/STL/MASTERCARD wrote:
> Wayne wrote:
> ..."As a general rule, no apostrophe is used in words more
> descriptive than possessive that end in 's.'" He cites "teachers college" as
> an example.
> Interesting example! We have an ongoing debate here as to whether a software
> manual should be titled Users Guide or User's Guide. What's the consensus out
> there?

Why stop with getting a consensus? Let's go one step beyond - and set
the standard!

Few, even most of US, have any idea off the top of his/her head how to
use apostrophes. It seems to be an obolescent part of our language - as
noted above, it is not even properly a part of the language (except as
part of a contraction, obviously).

So why can't we, as one of the nations largest groups of professional
communicators, simply vote with our feet - er, keyboards - and stop
using it? If the possessive apostrophe suddenly stopped appearing in
technical and business publications - wouldn't the rest of the world
eventually follow?

Face it - it may be the biggest revolution and act of civil disturbance
in which most of us will ever take part - why not? I'd like to have
something to tell my grandchildren - how when I was a younger guy, I
helped rid the world of obsolescent, confusing pseudogrammatical
structures, and made their lives, and those of their contemporaries,
just a little better.

Yes. Let's do it...

I, Mitch Berg, hereby promise to stop using the apostrophe to indicate
possession. I'm doing this, not for my own convenience or from any
sense of laziness, but to make the English-writing world a better place.

Who's with me? Come on! To the barricades!

Oh, OK. It should be Users Guide.

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