Sunday, December 10, 2006

Apostrophy Atrophy Apostates

A while back I noted that news agencies had to grapple with where to use apostrophies in reporting that a purse owned by one of President Bush's daughters was snatched in Argentina.

CNN reported it as, "Bush daughter purse-snatching talk of Argentina" while The Los Angeles Daily News, using an AP report, used the headline "Bush's daughter's purse snatched". With the status of our grammar in serious jeopardy, I know that all periods, commas and colons are as equally shocked as all of us.


As Madonna once sang (sung?! sanged?! sunged?!), "where do we go from here?" A quasi-semantic quandry! A whirlpool of punctuational doubt! There's got to be a book deal in this for me!

But in the meantime, let's consider the possible extrapolations of the news story, and subject it to rigorous scientific experimentation (within the necessary scientific confines of, you know, me being itching to finish this posting and getting a snack).

What if the thief had not stolen her purse, but something which belonged to the purse?

CNN: Bush daughter purse strap-snatching talk of Argentina
AP: Bush's daughter's purse's strap-snatching talk of Argentina

And like all good cook shows, we skip to the finished product:

CNN: Bush daughter friend barber ex-wife purse strap lining label smell-snatching talk of Argentina
AP: Bush's daughter's friend's barber's ex-wife's purse's strap's lining's label's smell-snatching talk of Argentina

As you can well see, the fate of English grammar lies solely in the people of Argentina and their always controversial opinions of the 19th letter of the alphabet.

Moral of the story: before you steal, consider our grammar.

1 comment:

stev said...

just realized the scream image you used is being used by google as the pic in their main search area?!