Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grammar 101 or a Pet Peeve

Do you have a pet peeve? Something that gets your hackles up every time it happens? Something that probably shouldn't bother you but does anyway?

I do. And today I got a note from a friend and yes, it had the thing written that bothers me a lot. I don't know why this grammar mistake is the one that gets my goat or makes me see red. But whenever I see this particular mistake I just want to scream, "WEREN'T YOU LISTENING IN FOURTH GRADE WENT YOUR TEACHER TAUGHT YOU THIS? COME ON IT ISN'T THAT HARD! IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!"

Now I'm sure you are very curious about what can make me react this way. It is the correct use of an 's. An 's is used to make a singular noun possessive. It is never, let me repeat that, IT IS NEVER, used to make a noun plural.

To make a noun plural you simply add the suffix -s, or -es or you have to change the spelling of the word and there are few words that keep the same word for both singular and plural. I could give you a list of singular nouns and you would whip through them in a heart beat spelling the plural of each and every one of them correctly.

Why then did I just give you that fourth grade grammar lesson you ask? Remember that note I got today signed by a friend who was wanting to include the whole family? She signed it, "With thanks, The Smith's". (name changed to protect the guilty). The Smiths don't own anything here. They aren't possessive. They are plural --- so just make the proper noun plural the same way you would a common noun. The Smiths -- that is all. If your last name happens to be Jones and you have to make it plural then you become the Joneses. (It looks funny I know, but it wouldn't if everyone did it correctly.) You can say but ... all you want, but it won't change a thing. That's the rule pure and simple. Bob Smith's new car will hold all eight Smiths. Tom Jones's family reunion was attended by only Joneses.

This Christmas when you are signing those Christmas cards just remember this simple lesson. If you want to include the whole gang either list their names individually or make the family plural without that pesky apostrophe.

4 comments:

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

Thanks for the lesson.....

And heck na I don't remember what I was taught in the fourth grade! I mean, I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, and I eat the same thing everyday!

Losing Myself said...

Whew, I'm glad it wasn't something I did....

Vixen said...

I am quite annoyed by that very thing myself. Glad to know I am not alone.

Stephanie said...

AMEN, Patsy!!! That drives me INSANE - especially when I see it incorrect in things that are advertised. :-)