Thursday, January 19, 2012

Only regular nouns need apply

Funky Winkerbean's use of "girls basketball team" and "the boys team" sparked a discussion over on The Comics Curmudgeon over whether there should be apostrophe's there. A commenter dug up this:
the AP stylebook says: “Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in s when it is used primarily in a descriptive sense: citizens band radio, … a teachers college, … a writers guide. Memory Aid: The apostrophe usually is not used if for or by rather than of would be appropriate in the longer form: a radio band for citizens, a college for teachers. An ’s is required, however, when a term involves a plural word that does not end in s: a children’s hospital, a people’s republic.”
And if that's not the perfect example of how totally illogical, inconsistent, and risible the "rules" of English can be, I don't know what is. The word's function changes depending on whether it's a regular noun or not? Because that is totally a hospital for children, right?

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At 5:02 PM, January 19, 2012 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

Well, for more inconsistency, consider the difference between

- a children's clinic, a veterans clinic, or an animal clinic


- a pain clinic or a cancer clinic

Or, as I like to ask, if a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

At 7:47 PM, January 19, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Yeah - there's absolutely no way to predict the relationship between two nouns. "Sports reporter", "magazine reporter", and "woman reporter" are all reporters, but the rest of it is totally different.

At 7:47 PM, January 19, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

ps - "humanitables", obviously ;-)

At 7:55 PM, January 21, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I shudder to imagine by analogy what a libertarian would eat.


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