[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [RFC] automatic apostrophes

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: [RFC] automatic apostrophes
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 11:04:37 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.1008 (Gnus v5.10.8) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

John Cowan <address@hidden> writes:

> Printing "Ajax's" is not a grammatical error,

It is an extreme case, which I chose deliberately to be provocative.
I'll readily concede that many English speakers and writers would
choose differently and omit the "s".

However, "Jesus'" and "Socrates'" are less extreme.  Most English
and American style guides say you should avoid the trailing "s" when
referring to these classical names.  See, for example, Strunk's rule #1

> What is serious, and closely analogous to the Catalan case,
> is the variation between English "a" and "an", or between
> French "le" and "l'".  How, if at all, are these things
> presently handled?

We reword the sentence to avoid the problem.  Strunk's rule #1
says this is a good idea for "Jesus'" even when writing ordinary
English text.

Natural language is supple and typically allows many ways to say
the same thing.  It's typically much easier to reword the
sentence, than it is to teach the computer how to say the sentence
in some slightly-nicer way.

This would continue to be true even if we added these fancier
features to gettext.  We have to (well, actually Bruno has to)
evaluate the utility of these newer features against the cost that
many programmers would be confused by the features, and would
either not use them, or misuse them, or spend a lot of time using
them for only marginal benefit to actual users.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]