Re: GRAMMAR: s's vs. s'

Damien Broderick (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 00:21:39 +1000

One final slash at the foe:

When logic fails, we can always roll out salient Authority and Time
Honoured-Usage. Thus:

Britannica, vol. 15, p. 589, `Descartes and Cartesianism':

`...according to Descartes's own account...'

Bertrand Russell, HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY, p. 542:

`Descartes's father...'

On the other hand, when you make a prat of yourself, as I do all too often,
you can only fall back on obfuscation and sleight of hand. Thus, when I
referred in a recent post to Descartes as `our Port Royal pal', this was
several synapses short of a thought. For a start, I meant `Port-Royal';
secondly, that would have been Blaise Pascal and not Descartes. Inner
scrutiny suggests an attractor fired erroneously (we could call it `the
"Descartes's" error') by `Port-Royal grammarians', rationalism, Chomsky's
linguistics... Sigh. I want one of those nice IA enhancers, please.

Damien Broderick