Skip to Content
1-26-2010 @ 4:19AM
@JehanneWhilst I agree with the general post, there was one glaring error:"Milton, Shakespeare, and Spenser played with spelling to create more effective puns, or left out apostrophes so the reader was left wondering if a word is possessive or plural."Firstly, Shakespeare was never meant to be read; so much in fact that each actor was only given his lines, not anybody elses. Couple this with the fact that many of the actors added their own lines and soliloquies (the more lines you had, the more important you were deemed - so often they 'bigged up' their own part) and that the manuscripts we have are not originals but in fact are sourced from people who would stand in the crowd and write down what they were hearing (yes, really), then it's inevitable that the enigma of deducing if a word was possessive or plural would arise. Simply, we will never know exactly what the original scripts and intents contained.Also, Milton, Spenser and Shakespeare were both before the standardization, as such, they were free to ignore apostrophes and grammar in general as they saw fit.I agree with both also: the idea that language must change with the times, and that rules must be enforced. Truth is, the English language breaks it's own rules frequently, more than most languages, usually for little more than convenience or simple memetic linguistics.Consider: If shown to a person to whom English is not the mother tongue, and also to an English National, the flaw in the following sentence is more likely to be spotted by the person to whom English is a secondary language:"I cannot decide whether I should go to the cinema."In fact, many English people don't know what's wrong with this... but to be fair, why -should- it matter? We know what's meant by the sentence, but perhaps the additional clarity is a boon. I would that we lived in a world based more on clarity than implied intent.
First time? A confirmation email will be sent to you after submitting.
Members enter your username and password.
Enter your AOL or AIM screenname and password.
Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.
When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.
To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.