Monday, September 3, 2012

Apostrophe's Hell

  My friend Annie, newly arrived in Nice,  is learning French for the first time.  We were talking about it today.   Most people think that the "new" language is the hard one. 
 French is tricky for English speakers because of the "masculine and feminine" version of  every noun, adjective etc.  But English is no "picnic". 
  Here is a photo of a guy who never understood the apostrophe...along with a few other things in life.....

My thank's to my cousin , Iris , who sent this bit along.  

                                                                                           Photo by Sarah Anne Edwards
So many people to hate, so little time.
If there's an apostrophe hell this has to be it. If you see this guy with his banner,  ask him, "Why do you ♥ the apostrophe so much? Repent and believe in grammar."
 But there are times when an apostrophe has its place.  Today's English expression "crow's feet"  answers the question: Whose what?  
The feet of the crow, that's who's feet.  The "what" is the feet, of course. 
Rest assured there's no hell, grammar or otherwise. (You don't need to pay for the overuse of apostrophes in another life). Overall, the universe's apostrophe store stays in balance. It seems our linguistic world was intelligently designed .......for every gratuitous apostrophe there's an instance where it's omitted.
 Here then is the term of the day that Iris sent me..... for those learning English.  

crow's feet


(KROHZ feet) 


MEANING:
noun: Wrinkles in the skin around the outer corners of the eyes.


ETYMOLOGY:
From their supposed resemblance to a crow's feet. Earliest documented use: around 1374.


USAGE:
"He stares at himself in the mirror, the curls now grey, the crow's feet deepening like grooves worked into wood."
C.B. Forrest; The Devil's Dust; Dundurn; 2012.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ah, good taste, what a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness. -Pablo Picasso, painter and sculptor (1881-1973)  



1 comment:

  1. Apostrophe abuse is rampant. That sign hurts my eyes.

    ReplyDelete