Quotable Friday

“Consulting a dozen or so recently published punctuation guides, I can report that they contain minor disagreements on virtually all aspects of the above and that their only genuine consistency is in using Keats’s poems as the prime example. Strange, but true. They just can’t leave Keats alone. ‘It is Keats’ poems (NOT Keats’s),’ they thunder. Or alternatively: ‘It is Keats’s poems (NOT Keats’).’ Well, poor old Keats, you can’t help thinking. No wonder he developed that cough.”
-Lynne Truss in Eats, Shoots and LeavesĀ 

Personally, I always use Jesus as an example when I try to teach about this, because it’s apt and also because once you bring Jesus into the equation–even when he probably wouldn’t have had an opinion on the matter–it lends the lesson a little more authority.

Also everyone knows it’sĀ Jesus’s and Keats’s. Come on.

2 thoughts on “Quotable Friday

  1. No one believes I have an English major, when faced with these sorts of questions. No one. It’s because of the inherent stutter, as my brain frantically tries to signal me that it’s punctuated wrong. I mumble, “Keats-ses-ses.” It never sounds good.

  2. I always tell people to say it out loud and to test if it works that way. I think that’s valid.

    Honestly, an English major and understanding the fine points of usage are two different things. I have my stuff I’m a stickler about, but any line editor could put me to absolute shame. Actually, my line editor for my book did put me to shame, in a really nice way. I feel like I was a trial for him, the poor man.

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