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Old 07-13-2013, 03:33 AM   #106
Andrew H.
Grand Master of Flowers
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Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
I will agree that language is fluid and context matters, but most languages are not as messed up as English is. The biggest reason is English has taken from so many languages over the year. It is the true Franken-language.

What other language uses the same word to have entirely different meanings.

Cleave and buckle for instance?

Why was the bridge was buckled? Fastened securely? Bent out of shape? Probably the second since it's rare to use it in the first instance in that context, but it is not an incorrect usage of the term.
Most monoglot English speakers have the idea - and I have no idea where this comes from - that English is somehow uniquely complicated or messed up or difficult. Despite the fact that it's one of the easiest languages to learn, particularly for speakers of other European languages.

In German, the word "sie" means "she," but it also means "they," and if it's capitalized it means "you." If you see the sentence "Ich habe sie gestern gesehen," without context you don't know if it means "I saw her yesterday" or "I saw them yesterday." And if you hear the sentence, and thus don't know whether "sie" is capitalized, it could also mean "I saw you yesterday."
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:50 AM   #107
Graham
Wizard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
It's a sad, sad language that is only discernable through the context of the conversation or the writing.
In this case though, it seems that it's only usage that has permitted the use of the apostrophe with plural abbreviations.

It does seem that 'most' grammar books don't condone it. So the 'correct' way to make 1970 plural is to write 1970s (which is the way I have always done it).

Writing 1970's is not condoned precisely because it is ambiguous. (See the link I gave above.)

The extension of this is presumably that the following would also be 'correct':

1970's Christmas episode was better than 1971's.

The 1970s' Christmas episodes were better than those from the 1980s.

Let the debate begin! ;-)

Edit:

Whoops. Just noticed this wasn't the plurals of abbreviations discussion. Wrong thread, sorry. Was meant to be in this one.

Graham

Last edited by Graham; 07-13-2013 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Posted in wrong thread.
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