Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Grammar Absurdities: KISS
Because ‘it is’ in contraction form has to be written as ‘it’s’, the evil twin that shows possession, ‘its’, cannot use the apostrophe—even though every other word that shows ownership sports the shallow apostrophe up there. And you know why don’t you? Because we painted ourselves into a corner.
Yep. All the brilliant academics tweaking away at our language, trying to integrate colloquialisms, had to go and stick an apostrophe in our lingo and mess it all up. They should have kept it simple. KISS. Not the rock group. Although I did use to Rock and Roll All Night. KISS stands for: Keep It Simple, Stupid. And we failed to do so with our language.
Here’s another mess caused by the apostrophe:
That is Cyrus’s house. (Or is it Cyrus’ house?)
Both possessives look like crap.
Check out how it’s done in Spanish. Es la casa de Cyrus. Clear as a chime and simple. De shows possession.
About the only semi sophisticated usage that makes sense to me is the semicolon. When kicking off this series, I kind of attacked the semicolon by asking what it was for. But here’s an excellent example of its usage taken from The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference:
I saw Meagan only three times after her divorce; once was at a dance recital in Berkeley.
I mean…that’s an awesome example. But then they cram a stinker in there like this:
A month or so later, they were back together; in fact, they plan to marry in October.
Really? Why complicate that one? Just break it into two sentences and be done with it. But NOOOOOO. Someone just had to muddy the waters.
As for the first exemplary illustration, the problem is that a dash would work just as well.
So my conclusion is this: try as hard as you may in order to become that elegant concert pianist of English. But no matter how hard you strive, your melody will always have some grit in it. And that’s what makes the art of writing beautiful.
The ever opinionated E.C. Stacy