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Amen


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Originally Posted By: pennyless
Another misuse of apostrophes which is one of my pet peeves is the use of a name on a mailbox or a doormat, which reads "The Smith's" (insert name) rather than "The Smiths".... unless the family is bragging about their ownership of the domicile (and even then, assuming that there is more than one Smith living in the residence, it should read "The Smiths'")


The Smith is the head of the household. The usage is the same as the head of a clan being known as, e.g., The MacGregor. The possessive is used to indicate that the house is owned solely by The Smith, the one with the name on the deed, and not shared with the bank. I.e., the mortgage is paid off.

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In most cases, then, it ought to be "The Bank's".

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Originally Posted By: Sparteye
In most cases, then, it ought to be "The Bank's".


Ahem.

Originally Posted By: Faldage
I.e., the mortgage is paid off.

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Most cases; not the case you mentioned.

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The Oxford Companion to the English Language page 75:


Quote:
There was formerly a respectable tradition (17-19c) of using the apostrophe for noun plurals, especially in loanwords ending in a vowel (as in We do confess Errata's, Leonard Lichfield, 1641, and Comma's are used, Philip Luckcombe, 1771) and in the consonants s, z, ch, sh, (as in waltz's and cotillions, Washington Irving, 1804). Although this practice is rare in 20c standard usage, the apostrophe of plurality continues in at least five areas: (1) with abbreviations such as V.I.P.'s or VIP's, although such forms as VIPs are now widespread. (2) With letters of the alphabet, as in His i's are just like his a's and Dot your i's and cross your t's. In the phrase do's and don'ts, the apostrophe of plurality occurs in the first word but not the second, which has the apostrophe of omission: by and large, the use of two apostrophes close together (as in don't's) is avoided. (3) In decade dates, such as the 1980's, although such apostrophe-free forms as the 1980s are widespread, as are such truncations as the '80s, the form the '80's being unlikely. (4) In family names, especially if they end in -s, as in keeping up with the Jones's, as opposed to the Joneses, a form that is also common. (5) in the non-standard ('illiterate') use often called in BrE the greengrocer's apostrophe, as in apple's 55p per lb and We sell the original shepherds pie's (notice in a shop window, Canterbury, England).

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Now I have to look up loanwords.

That double negative in the subject line reminds me of a personal favorite, “He don't know no better.” When I hear it I have to decide whether or not the irony is intentional.

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Originally Posted By: morphememedley
I have to decide whether or not the irony is intentional.


It would depend partly on whether what the person didn't know was a grammatical fact and partly on whether the speaker had the emphatic multiple negative as part of their native dialect. In this partcular case, considering zmjezhd's status as a linguist of some note I would say that the irony was unquestionably intentional.

A loanword is a word that is taken unchanged from another language, e.g., schadenfreude from the German.

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Originally Posted By: Faldage
zmjezhd's status as a linguist of some note


C# perhaps?


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C# perhaps?

The language or the sound? If the former, I prefer Java, and if the latter I am at best a hemidemisemiquaver.

But it was kind of you to say it, Faldo.

As for what I meant by changing the title, which words are causing confusion?


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
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