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Re: [vox] [OT] ISO's vs ISOs
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Re: [vox] [OT] ISO's vs ISOs



On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:

> begin Jeff Newmiller <jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us> 
> > On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> > 
> > > begin Henry House <hajhouse@houseag.com> 
> > > > On Sun, Jul 21, 2002 at 11:08:52PM -0700, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> > 
> > > ps- it's perfectly acceptable for a language to be a living thing. :)
> > 
> > Not at the expense of clarity.
> 
> of course, your assumption here is that they don't introduce clarity.
> 
> i would say your assumption is dead wrong.

How very articulate.

The rule is: apostrophes represent the possessive form, and contractions.  
Numerous teachers and editors have negatively reinforced my attempted use
of apostrophes for the purpose of separating abbreviations from a plural
"s", because such use is inconsistent with the above rule.

The lack of clarity arises because in the reader's mind, the apostrophe
signals possessive forms and contractions, and there is no possessive
implied, nor text replaced by, the apostrophe in this case.  I am not 
even certain what parsing rule you would articulate to explain why people
shouldn't stumble over this construction.

This reminds me of Humpty Dumpty in "Alice in Wonderland":

    '...and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days
    when you might get un-birthday presents---'

    'Certainly,' said Alice.

    'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

    'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't--till I
    tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you"!'

    'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice
    objected.

    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it
    means just what I choose it to mean--neither more or less.'

    'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean
    different things.'

    'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master--that's
    all.'

> > The rules for use of apostrophes are quite
> > clear in this case, and you would be attempting to introduce an imprecise
> > usage to supplant a precise one... not likely to be accepted by the rest
> > of the english-literate population.
> 
> introduce?  humbug.  the world is bursting at the seams with people who
> use ISO's.

Oh? Okay, if you say so.  But they push a change that should be resisted.  
This argument has plagued English teachers for a very long time... Mark
Twain addressed this awhile back in his usual satirical style:
http://www.mantex.co.uk/samples/spell.htm

> > It is your perception that apostrophes make this case clearer which needs
> > to be adapted, because they only confuse the issue for most people.
>  
> i dunno, jeff.  i've asked a bunch of people at this point.  you're
> definitely in the minority out of population surveyed.  no doubt about
> it.  more people would say you're wrong here than right.

Well, among the responses I have seen here so far, that doesn't appear to
be true, so I guess you have been asking around somewhere else.  If the
tally was so strong before you asked here, why did you bother?

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