Re: GRAMMAR: s's vs. s'

Damien Broderick (
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 12:33:55 +1000

At 02:42 PM 1/26/97 -0500, Davin wrote:

>. . . Besides, I get tongue twisted pronouncing Moses'seses and

I'm gobsmacked by the way this hilarious idiocy keeps missing the point.
How can anyone get tongue-tied saying Descartes's? Your *eye* might stumble
over it, but my original claim was that since `Descartes' is pronounced
`Day-KART', not `Day-KARTS' or `Day-KARTIES' or `Dez-KARTS' or `Xerxes', the
only sensible way to form a possessive (in English) is to bung an apostrophe
s on the end.

In my big-hearted way, I even conceded that the original book title left the
question moot, since the object of possession was our Port Royal pal's
ERROR. So in French, the normally silent terminal s would be assimilated
into the gap. But suppose the title can been DESCARTES' CART? I assert
that the only way to pronounce this is as `Day-KART Cart'. (And I'm damned
if I'm going to tuck that last period inside the closing apostrophe,
American English conventions or not. Bah humbug!)

I'm especially tickled to see this turn into a raging controversy on a list
where about half the 180 IQ posters can't tell their it's from their its.
:) or do I mean :( ?

Damien Broderick