Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Wonder Why Misplaced Apostrophes Trouble Me So?

OK. Originally this was going to be a rant about how a couple of ladies who frequent the gym I go to never wash their hands after they tinkle. This. Peeves. Me. Off. But then I thought – nobody’s gonna wonder why I feel this way. Everybody would feel this way. And really, what more can I say besides – Ew? Germs? This is not medieval times, folks.

So that was a no-go idea. And then I thought about how annoyed I get when my clock watching coworkers comment on how much OT they work, and that peeves the hell out of me. People, if you can’t do your job in your allotted 45 hours, then you suck, ok? Customer service ladies, we have 5 customers. There are 2 of you. That is 2.5 customers per customer service admin. I don’t think you’re too thinly spread. And oh, I’m sorry, because here comes another peeve – we must call them customer support technicians, not customer service admins. Because, see, there’s a big difference to the title when you add an extra syllable. BIG. DIFFERENCE. Say it aloud. Can you hear the difference?

So finally I settled on something particular perhaps to English majors, or (since I’m not actually an English major), people who took a lot of English classes. And absorbed a lot of grammar rules.

My peeve is the poor, misused apostrophe.

The its versus it’s dilemma is something I can totally forgive. I often make the mistake myself – which one is possessive? Which one is a contraction? Even if you know, sometimes the speed of typing and the lack of total concentration can throw your apostrophe placement off kilter. Don’t worry about it, it’s cool - or its cool? Never mind. What I meant to say was, don’t sweat it.

The Jones’s versus Jones’ conundrum is equally confusing. I give props to anyone who attempts that tricky construction. I prefer to re-word so as to avoid having to decide whether I went to the Jones’s house, or the Jones’ house, or even the Joneses house. Instead, I go to the house of Jones. Call me an apostrophic coward, but there you go.

However. Certain people tend to throw an apostrophe any old place in a word, just because they see an “s” in there – or perhaps they just think it needs a little something extra. When I go to pick up “apple’s” at the grocery . . . when I step into the “Ladie’s” room at the gym . . . when I get a note home from my little tutee’s teacher that says “spelling word’s should be practiced” . . . I swallow my fist and my hair frizzes. Especially the teacher making such a basic mistake. Honey, it’s your job to get this right. Work on it a little harder, ok?

My favorite example of apostrophe abuse was on a t-shirt hanging in the Australian coffee bar where I used to work. Some semi-famous athlete, maybe a rugby player, had signed the shirt in huge black Sharpie, and it was hung by the owner with pride, there above the bar. It said this: Marios place is “alway’s” Great Food. Thank’s mate!

He even threw in some misplaced quotation marks. It was great. It made my skin crawl.

And that’s my peeve.

G Love love's "all" of you precious reader's. Thank's!


Wicked M said...

This drives me bonkers too. I can forgive it in blog comments or Instant Message conversations, but it does irk me. Having an English teacher for a mom can make you a little grammar nuts.

Ooh -- and about the admin thing? Maybe it isn't important to some people, but it is to others. Those of us in the admin/secretary (HATE this word!)/assistant world are a little bit sensitive about this one. Just a teensy. :)

Wicked M said...

Oh! And I totally vote that in place of Free for All Friday this week, we just open up a post and let everyone comment on things that annoy them. That would make me joyfully happy.

glove said...

OK. The admin title thing I can let go of - though I'll tell you, as an HR person, to me "Admin" is shorthand for "does all the dirty work the manager doesn't want to do." It's a good thing. And technician implies a level of mechanical skill that is not reflected in their job duties. And is there really a difference between customer service and customer support? Some companies just call everyone in the place a "business partner." I like that, though eventually that will go out of style too, and we'll probably go back 'round to secretary. It's just like baby name trends. They go round and round and round.

MSO Rin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MSO Rin said...

The English major refues to comment on G Love's post b/c she's afraid she'd start and never stop.

Also, she's a tad upset that although she was the brilliant WW to come up w/this week's topic, HER peeve got zero comments. ZERO. Her peeve must have been too esoteric. Not that it's a contest or anything. She's just sayin'.

(Look at all those properly placed apostrophes up there. It warms the heart.)

Wicked M said...

I agree with G Love on the technician thing. I don't believe it applies to customer service at all.

Also, I swear I commented on MSO Rin's entry. *running to check*

super jane said...

i too am scared of the misplaced apostrophe. because my last name ends in an 's', i always sign cards and such as "the m____s family." i'm too scared to write "the m____s's" or is it "the m_____s'?"

Tara said...

If you have not already done so, you must run -- not walk -- to your local library and pick up a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Hi-larious.