Constructive Criticism Thread

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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby kdrew on Sat May 29, 2010 12:22 pm

Thanks Debbi. That's what I thought too but I just wanted to be sure before I wrote an article flooded with grammatical errors that I *know* are wrong. :)
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Elizabeth Ann West on Sat May 29, 2010 12:32 pm

I would be grammatically correct and call it renter's insurance. Search engines ignore punctuation so there is no reason to change the punctuation for SEO. Although the leading insurance companies are using "renters insurance" it screams poor writing to me. It doesn't even make sense. The term "renters insurance" is insurance for plural renters? The idea is insurance for one renter, and therefore should be "renter's insurance."

What I love is this site:
http://www.statefarm.com/insurance/renters/renters.asp

They use "renters insurance" in the title, but "renter's insurance" in the sub-title. It's like they know the right way, but don't care to be thorough. Just my opinion though.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Debbi on Sat May 29, 2010 1:37 pm

Even if it were for plural renters, you'd think there should be an apostrophe becuase it is possessive. So should it be renters' or renters's? Purdue says renters' but Elements of Style says renters's. I don't remember ever seeing a noun ending in s with a 's at the end.

Purdue OWL site on apostrophes:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/

Elementray Rules of Usage:
http://www.bartleby.com/141/strunk.html#1
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby kdrew on Sat May 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Thanks Elizabeth. I didn't know that tidbit about SEO. I just want to make sure that I do which ever one is right! :) I guess referencing that State Farm website wouldn't be much help, huh :)

Debbi, I agree that renters's is pretty weird. I wish there was a direct outlet to Ed and he could chime in.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sat May 29, 2010 2:38 pm

Grammar Girl explains it really well:

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/gr ... ophes.aspx

In this case, renters (or homeowners) acts as an adjective describing the type of insurance, not ownership of the insurance:
I'm seriously considering renters insurance. (adjective)
The renter's insurance policy lapsed. (possessive)

Edited to add:
Also, Debbi, regarding:
Purdue says renters' but Elements of Style says renters's. I don't remember ever seeing a noun ending in s with a 's at the end.


Elements of Style's rule about adding an apostrophe for a word ending in s is for possesive singular nouns ending in s, not possesive plural ones. For example, Charles's dog is fat. (Because Charles is a singular noun). The renters' mailboxes were vandalized. (Because the mailboxes belonged to all of the renters in the building, so it's a possesive plural noun. The "renters's mailboxes" would be incorrect.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby WordCraft on Sat May 29, 2010 3:04 pm

I tend to agree with some of the posters beneath Grammar Girl's article. The apostrophe does not just denote the possessive. An example, used in one commenting post, is "men's shirts" where it represents "for".

Grammar Girl's "farmers market" example is also not something I would ever use. To me that means that a group of farmers market (market being a verb). It should be "farmers' market" whether or not it actually belongs to them, because the apostrophe represents more than ownership.

Reading all the comments in response to the article gives a good "big picture" but, and most importantly, and as Grammar Girl says, it is a contentious issue :D (i.e. there appears to be no right and wrong in every case)
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Amy W on Sat May 29, 2010 3:15 pm

And all this time, I've been lead astray by my English teachers. I was always taught that the "s" after the apostrophe was stylistic. Both Charles' dog and Charles's dog were right, it was just a matter of preference which one you chose. Thanks, English teachers, for really knowing your stuff!

kdrew,

I wrote a lot of articles on insurance on CC for a client, and I never included the apostrophe (which I always thought was a weird word :D ). I used homeowners insurance instead of homeowner's insurance, and renters insurance instead of renter's insurance. And I never had a problem getting the articles accepted, so you should be okay. If I were you, I'd just write it the same way the rest of the industry writes it.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby WordCraft on Sat May 29, 2010 3:22 pm

Regarding Charles' and Charles's, I believe names considered "classical" or "biblical" drop the final s - or something like that. I'd have to look it up. Perhaps someone on here knows? :D
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sat May 29, 2010 3:51 pm

Yes, when I was reading the entry in Elements of Style, it mentioned dropping the extra s for Biblical names as in: Jesus' dog and Moses' tablets. (Fortunately, apostrophe use is on page 1 of EoS, so it was easy to quickly look it up.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Debbi on Sat May 29, 2010 6:01 pm

Until Ed tells me differently, I will drop that final "s", even if the possessive noun is not Biblical or classical. Charles's just looks so wrong.

Heh, so if it's the cat of Jesus Rodriguez, do you say Jesus's cat since it's not the Biblical Jesus?

Hmm, would it be Jesus Rodriguez's cat? I would tend to drop the s there too.

I've seen different authorities say different things. WHO DO WE TRUST!
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sat May 29, 2010 6:37 pm

Not sure about Jesus Rodriquez's first name (I'm thinking since he's not the actual Biblical figure, standard rules would apply), but I'd still use the apostrophe with his last name. Unfortunately, there are so many authorities with different rules and opinions on some of these usage questions that we may never really know what's technically correct. Chalk it up to yet another complication of English.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Elizabeth Ann West on Sat May 29, 2010 10:20 pm

Wow, I still think this is a toughie. I don't know that I buy Grammar Girl's explanation that in this case "renters" becomes an adjective. Especially as she notes you use possession when speaking about a specific one. This doesn't make sense to me. For example the phrase "doctor's note." Here "doctor" is modifying note, but would you say in a school policy: "Doctors notes are required for all absences exceeding 3 days." No, you would say "A doctor's note.." or "Doctor notes." With the word renter I think you are in a similar situation. I could understand renter insurance, but not renters insurance.

For more comparison, I Googled "painters mask" and was asked "Did you mean painter's mask?" LOL. However, both came up with similar results, again because search engines give little or no weight to punctuation.

I guess both are accepted, but I would say the jury's still out on making one more correct than the other.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby WordCraft on Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:56 pm

"Doctors note", to me, means that a number of doctors have noticed something as in "Doctors note a large rise in cancer" in a newspaper headline.

Anyway, I posted in the wrong place earlier so will now do so in the right place.

One would say "now-famous x" rather than "now famous x", yes?
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One-dollar fountain drink, or one dollar fountain drink?

Postby MelissaNott on Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:29 pm

Which do you think is correct, "one-dollar fountain drink" or "one dollar fountain drink"? This sentence is in a paragraph with other hyphenated prices, such as "fifty-cent cookie" and "seventy-five cent savings". I have a hunch I could go either way on "one dollar", but that it's best to be consistent with other words in the paragraph. Ideas? Thoughts? Thanks!
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:11 pm

I'd go with one-dollar fountain drinks.

BTW, The Yahoo! Style Guide explained the whole renters vs renter's vs renters' insurance thing (discussed earlier) fairly well. I'll have to dig up the explanation one of these days.
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