Shouldn't "Bridget Jones's Diary" be "Bridget Jones' Diary"?

Janna S

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I agree with Michael. After sniping our way through apostrophes, battling like gladiators over which style manual is penultimate and best suited to the rigorous among us, we can move on to serial commas. Then we ought to be able to get a fine snit going by taking up the singular noun/plural pronoun debate.
 

Dana Fillhart

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Darren,
What do you think will penultimately happen if we did stop using it incorrectly? Would we have penultimate peace and love in the world?

------------------
 

Janna S

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Penultimate is exactly what I meant . . . gladiators did not have the final say, guys.
 

mike_decock

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I always though that "Jones's" was an intentional misspelling to reflect the character of the movie.

-Mike...
 

Rex Bachmann

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Don Black wrote:
What "bugs" you? I'm curious. Is it the spelling with "'s" or the pronunciation some speakers have with [iz]??? How would you pronounce the "possessive" of Jones?
As usual, people run to "style manuals", which deal with language "elegance", and seldom with true language grammar.
The difference in the two is attributable to dialect differences (like most "grammar" divergences). For some dialect speakers the ending in a sibilant in a word can already signal} "possessiveness" in the appropriate grammatical contexts (i.e., where it fits meaning-wise in the sentence). For some of us, though, we need that extra sibilance to distinguish the "nominative", or naming form, from the "genitive" (or possessive) case. It just don't sound "possessive" unless it "possesses" that extra -s/z/iz!
I could never go with "Jesus' beard" (sounds like a bad rock act). It must be "Jesus's beard" [jeez-us-iz], or "no go". It wouldn't be "transparent" (analyzable) as a possessive for me as a speaker otherwise. If you pronounce such things without the extra -[iz], then for you the extra would make it what we call hypercharacterized or doubly marked (redundant-sounding).
It's a dialect thing. The spelling, as usual, is superfluous in spoken English.
 

Jack Briggs

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I'm an adherent to the Chicago Manual of Style, which is the preferred stylebook of magazines. Newspapers, on the other hand, use the AP Stylebook. On top of that, many publications use these style manuals as a rough guide, adding their own idiocyncracies to the mix.

But, when I'm assigned a freelance writing project, I still stick with Chicago, and let the house copy editor delete those "s"es following the apostrophes.
 

Justin Doring

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I've seen both "s's" and "s'" written, but Shakespeare and Joyce, the two undisputed masters of the English Language, prefer "s'" so that's what I adhere to.

The title Bridget Jones's Diary has always bothered me as well, by the way.
 

Rex Bachmann

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Joseph DeMartino wrote:
[I said:
shake[/I]]Quote:
Hmmm. My professors taught me that it means "What are you up to, o Romeo?" (or "to what end?"). (English wherefore = German wozu 'where' + 'to/for').
 

Mark Murtha

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Janna and Michael, What are serial commas?
And really, how difficult is it to learn the it's and its?
(Typo in the first try, ouch.)
 

Mark_vdH

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As a Dutchman I was pretty confused when I got Wendy Carlos's Complete Original Score of Clockwork Orange.

Thanks for clearing it up
.
 

Joseph DeMartino

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My professors taught me that it means "What are you up to, o Romeo?" (or "to what end?").
"What are you up to?" makes no sense in the context of the scene. "To what end" is another way of asking "why" - "what is the reason for your being Romeo, as opposed to Tom, Dick or Harry?" That's the essence of the question in this part of the balcony scene which.
From the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary:
Main Entry: bought·en
Function: adjective
Etymology: bought (past participle of buy) + -en (as in forgotten)
Now dialect: BOUGHT "... my red sled, and my boughten wagon" -- W.A.White
Regards,
Joe
 

Rex Bachmann

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Joseph DeMartino wrote:


Quote:



bought·en . . . Etymology: bought (past participle of buy) + -en (as in forgotten)






Okay, but my point is the same, and JamesMH said it in a less technical way (although his sentiments on gotten are misguided, as you correctly point out).

Based on the history of English and other Germanic languages and their common verb system, your form boughten must be secondary, created by some speakers on the analogy of verbs like get : gotten ("The word that bugs me the most is 'gotten' . . . People then start to say boughten and other stupid words . . ."), which is, from a linguistic point of view, "legitimate" (that is, inherited from way back when). I suspect---although I don't have a copy of the OED handy---this form is probably a dialectal neologism of modern English (like proven vs. proved). I find additionally only foughten, which I had also never heard of before now. These must form a quite tiny subclass of participial formation. In any event, almost no verbs had such forms (that is, doubly marked participles -t-/-(e)d- + -en).


To sum up, you are completely correct that such forms did once exist in active use in the language. It's just that the audience shouldn't be left with the impression that all such forms are equally "old" in origin, even if some of them have fallen completely out of use. Some are older than others and are the "legitimate", inherited forms, while some others are neologisms based on analogy to the older forms, even if they too are archaic by today's standards (since this class of verbs is slowing dying altogether).
 

Rex Bachmann

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Ooops!
Never try to do complicated explanations at 3:00 a.m.!
foughten from fight is, of course, old and inherited (like its cousin, German fechten, focht, gefochten), and would be the likeliest model for the analogy that created boughten from buy. These two verbs are not in the same class anywhere.
 

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