Re: Resumes and SMEs, Years v. Years'

Subject: Re: Resumes and SMEs, Years v. Years'
From: Joanna Sheldon <cjs10 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 19:22:29 -0500

Maurice,

>> I don't understand why you say the Chicago Manual says to use it "but
>> without any discussion." It explains quite clearly and categorically
>> that the apostrophe is used, and why.
>
>If you know what "old genitive case" means, perhaps it's clear. But
>it does not explicitly discuss why the apostrophe should not be
>omitted. Is there no alternative to the "old genitive case"? Why
>might some people mistakenly think there is? I assumed Chicago's
>ruling was of the same weight as "Use the serial comma/Don't use the
>serial comma".

Well, I do know what the old genitive case is, but that's neither here nor
there. The language is full of its own history. The lines, "It's important
that you (should) be on time" and "be they poets or dramatists" are
vestigial traces of the old subjunctive mood. Still makes fine modern
English. The old genitive shows up also in sentences like "His being here
has nothing to do with my mood" (the gerund requiring a possessive). We
never think twice about the history of the language, most of the time.
Maybe apostrophes give people trouble because they require a little
memorization?

Joanna



C. Joanna Sheldon, Ph.D. * GRAPHTECH Consulting
Graphics & Technical Writing

PO Box 4874, Ithaca NY 14852 USA
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