RE: Unprofessional possessive

Subject: RE: Unprofessional possessive
From: "Halter, Meg" <HalterMC -at- navair -dot- navy -dot- mil>
To: "'Dick Margulis'" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 13:12:18 -0800

Dick --

I think you hit on exactly what the author was thinking. This approach
should work in convincing him. Thanks.

-- Meg

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dick Margulis [SMTP:margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net]
> The possessive case is acceptable in even the most formal diction. There
> are situations, however, where it is best avoided.
> For example, there has been a trend in medicine (and similar trends in
> some specific scientific fields) to remove the possessive from specific
> eponyms: doctors write about Down syndrome, not Down's syndrome, etc.
> In addition, and more broadly, many careful writers avoid applying the
> possessive case to inanimate objects, although in the more informal tone
> adopted in much technical writing, this does not generally apply. So,
> formally, "the front panel of the printer"; informally, "the printer's
> front panel"; somewhere in between, "the printer front panel".
> But the pilot is animate and capable of possessing a head, a helmet, even
> a thought. So the possessive is standard usage in that instance.
> HTH,
> Dick

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