Coffeehouse Thread

54 posts

Interesting Cisco commerical

Back to Forum: Coffeehouse
  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    WOW. That is inspiring. It makes you want to be a part of that vision.

    I hope someone at Microsoft takes notice. It's time stop trying to be cool and start showing a the broader vision that you have. Be bold Microsoft*.

    * For corporate vision and message only. Product groups cannot run with these scissors.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    It's a lot of people who say "the 90's", "the '90s" and "the 90s", so all are grammatical. In the past hundred years there have been several occasions where what you are claiming is "wrong" was actually the majority view of how to write plural number:

    This is not similar to the greengrocer's apostrophe, which is basically unused in literature (and is therefore ungrammatical):

     My point is only that your assertion that "writing 60's is wrong" is based on a flawed premise. It's not wrong. It's just old fashioned.

    It is a greengrocer's apostrophe.

    Generic Forum Image

    You have just applied it to a number. I suppose you think the following snippet is okay then.

    "We did things differently back in the sixtie's."

    Because that's exactly what you're arguing for. I also can't agree with your argument that because a lot of people think it's right then it is automatically right . A lot of people thought the world was flat. A lot of people thought that travelling faster than 20 miles per hour would kill you. But as folk got access to more information, they realised that this was not the case. Likewise, a lot of common mistakes in writing have been slowly cleared out as people have found it much easier to check stuff.  

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , Ray7 wrote

    *snip*

    Likewise, a lot of common mistakes in writing have been slowly cleared out as people have found it much easier to check stuff. 

    Very true. Since the mid '90s, it's definitely been easier to get access to the Chicago Manual of Style or equivalent than it's been to remember what Mrs. Pritchett taught us. Smiley

    That's not to say that you won't see millions of examples still floating around on blog posts and their associated comments sections. However, for published professional writers who actually care about leaving a good impression, it seems that they have taken the time to check the correctness acceptability of their writing style, which is evident in the trends in the Ngram data.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    WOW. That is inspiring. It makes you want to be a part of that vision.

    I hope someone at Microsoft takes notice. It's time stop trying to be cool and start showing a the broader vision that you have. Be bold Microsoft*.

    * For corporate vision and message only. Product groups cannot run with these scissors.

    Microsoft did have that one video about all of the creative and innovative ways that developers have (or could) implement the Kinect device. That video was pretty inspiring.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    Ha, this thread is awesome. One half Cisco, one half grammar.

    BTW, I'm in the '60s camp. Apostrophes show missing letters and/or possession.

     

    I enjoy music from the '60s. (I like to listen to music created during the 1960s decade).

    I enjoy 1960's music. (I like to listen to music created by the year 1960).

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    Microsoft did have that one video about all of the creative and innovative ways that developers have (or could) implement the Kinect device. That video was pretty inspiring.

    I was thinking of a more mass appeal message though the Kinect video could have been part of that broader effort. The 2019 video was more what I had in mind. 

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    It's not. The greengrocer's apostrophe is the misapplication of an apostrophe when forming noun plurals (it's also ungrammatical to use an apostrophe with personal pronoun plurals, and the relative pronoun who, but those are not greengrocer's apostrophes). 

    Even the Wikipedia page on apostrophes calls out this usage:

    The apostrophe is sometimes used in forming the plural of numbers (for example, 1000's of years); however, as with groups of years, it is unnecessary because there is no possibility of misreading. Most sources are against this usage; an alternative is to write out the numbers as words.

    In fact, numerals are not the only thing that can be validly pluralized with an apostrophe. Single letters and verbatim words are also pluralized this way:

    • I loved the 1960's.
    • This telephone number is confusing. So many 1's and 2's.
    • Mind your p's and q's.
    • There's a lot of s's in Mississippi.
    • It's a bad idea to splatter e.g.'s and i.e.'s all over your writing.

    You have just applied it to a number. I suppose you think the following snippet is okay then.

    "We did things differently back in the sixtie's."

    No. Because 60 is a numeral, but sixty is not. So your example (which by the way ought to be "sixty's", but never mind) is a case of the greengrocer's apostrophe, whereas 60's is not.

    I also can't agree with your argument that because a lot of people think it's right then it is automatically right . A lot of people thought the world was flat. A lot of people thought that travelling faster than 20 miles per hour would kill you. But as folk got access to more information, they realised that this was not the case. Likewise, a lot of common mistakes in writing have been slowly cleared out as people have found it much easier to check stuff.  

    English is not science. It is entirely social. It is defined by social conventions and social norms. English is what English speakers define it to be, by majority democratic rule of usage. The greengrocer's apostrophe is not wrong because Jesus came down out of the sky and forbade it. It is not wrong because the bearded men went up the mountain and came down the tablet of stone that said "Thou Shalt Not Pluralize Thy Nouns With Apostrophes". It is wrong because it is not the norm, and it slows comprehension when read.

    This is not the case when the apostrophe is used to pluralize numerals, individual letters or verbatim words. In these cases, the social norm is not conclusive enough in either direction to declare it mandatory or verboten. It is a matter of style. Not a matter of correctness.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    Very true. Since the mid '90s, it's definitely been easier to get access to the Chicago Manual of Style or equivalent than it's been to remember what Mrs. Pritchett taught us. Smiley

    The Chicago Manual of Style is a "Manual of Style" (clue is in the name).

    And there are no shortage of English style guides that recommend pluralizing numbers with apostrophes:

    Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary

    Apostrophe '

    often forms plurals of letters, figures, and words referred to as words
    ⟨You should dot your i's and cross your t's.⟩
    ⟨His l's and his 7's looked alike.⟩
    ⟨She has trouble pronouncing her the's.⟩

    Also American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition:

    42's and 53's

    x's, y's, and z's

    in the 1700's

    an article with too many also's

    Or Practical English Usage, 2nd Edition:

    Apostrophes are used in the plurals of letters, and often of numbers and abbreviations.

    • He writes b's instead of d's.
    • It was in the early 1960's. (OR ... 1960s.)
    • I know two MP's personally. (OR ... MPs.)

    My point is not that you must pluralize your numbers with an apostrophe. I only seek to dispel your mistaken impression that it is somehow forbidden.

    There is no rule here. And it doesn't matter how many different authorities/style guides are cited - usage in this area has never been fixed. The use of apostrophes for pluralization of numbers has always been less common than not doing so, but it's been around for hundreds of years, and is still in wide usage today.

    That's not because English writing peoples are stupid and don't know how to write English. It's because your so called "rule", does not exist, and has never existed within the English language.

    English is what English people say and write. And whilst a large number of English speaking people write apostrophes after their 1's, their 2's and their 3's, the only people who will ever tell them that it is not "correct" for them to do so, are those who think that language lives in a box, or is defined by bearded men in ivory towers who define rules for others to follow; i.e. people who do not understand language.

    English is not constrained by rules. It is defined by usage. That is why lol is now an English word now, and why thou (which used to be one) is no longer. It is why tomorrow is no longer spelt (or is that spelled)to-morrowand why the plural of antenna is both antennae and antennas. It is why o'er is no longer a valid contraction of over, but why txt is now a valid contraction of text (noting, of course, that t'xt isn't a valid such contraction).

    English evolves on the streets of the English speaking world. Not in ivory towers. Those who watch it and study it can marvel at its structure, it's beauty and its form. And those who try to constrain it with invented rules out of some vision of how the language ought to work will always be frustrated.

    If you spend your time looking at language and seeing rules being broken everywhere, you need to ask whether that is because everyone around you is stupid, or else that your rules are.

     

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    And there are no shortage of English style guides that recommend pluralizing numbers with apostrophes:

    Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary

    *snip*

    Also American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition:

    *snip*

    The wording of those excerpts suggest that they are not recommendations but merely acknowledgement of the existence of the particular usages. I fully acknowledge that people commonly spell certain words incorrectly, but that doesn't mean that I recommend doing the same.

    I've never seen any grammar, punctuation, or style guide RECOMMEND such usages for the apostrophe. I would say practically every single one say that it's unnecessary for pluralization of numbers, and some even frown on it. The Wikipedia excerpt that you quoted agrees:

    The apostrophe is sometimes used in forming the plural of numbers (for example, 1000's of years); however, as with groups of years, it is unnecessary because there is no possibility of misreading. Most sources are against this usage; an alternative is to write out the numbers as words.

    ...at its structure, it's beauty and its form.

    That would be "its beauty". Smiley

    And those who try to constrain it with invented rules out of some vision of how the language ought to work will always be frustrated..

    Look, you fully appreciate the dynamic nature of the English language. I get it. I also appreciate how adaptable it is when it comes to its acceptance of loanwords from other languages and marvel at how many loanwords it contributes to other languages. I also appreciate that you're always allowed to break some of the grammar rules that Mrs. Pritchett taught us in order to get a point across better or to be more poetic. To boldly use split infinitives in my writing or ending sentences with a preposition are two things that I will not be deterred from.

    However, I can't agree that the using an apostrophe for pluralization of numbers makes what you're expressing any clearer or more poetic. I also can't agree that pointing out such usage as non-standard stifles the evolution of written English in any way.

    At the very least, an English language pedant could easily argue that allowing lazy, superfluous usage of the apostrophe in numbers/years could lead to more of the same in common nouns, which you fully acknowledged as grammatically incorrect rather than an just being an issue of style.

    If you spend your time looking at language and seeing rules being broken everywhere, you need to ask whether that is because everyone around you is stupid, or else that your rules are.

    Sorry, but in this case it's not even close to "everyone". In most cases, I wouldn't be such a pedant about it either, but this was an ad from a multi-billion dollar corporation, and having this non-standard, old-fashioned, or whatever usage of the apostrophe juxtaposed to an egregious typographical error has me wondering if anybody gives a rat's * about correctness anymore. 

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    amazing how this has become a debate / lecture on the English language.... Expressionless

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    It's not. The greengrocer's apostrophe is the misapplication of an apostrophe when forming noun plurals (it's also ungrammatical to use an apostrophe with personal pronoun plurals, and the relative pronoun who, but those are not greengrocer's apostrophes). 

    Er, yes it is a greengrocer's apostrophe. 

     

    Even the Wikipedia page on apostrophes calls out this usage:

    *snip*

    In fact, numerals are not the only thing that can be validly pluralized with an apostrophe. Single letters and verbatim words are also pluralized this way:

    • I loved the 1960's.
    • This telephone number is confusing. So many 1's and 2's.
    • Mind your p's and q's.
    • There's a lot of s's in Mississippi.
    • It's a bad idea to splatter e.g.'s and i.e.'s all over your writing.

    *snip*

    We've already covered this: the addition of punctuation is fine for creativity and/or clarity. The apostrophe in 1960's does neither.

    No. Because 60 is a numeral, but sixty is not.

    Makes no difference in this case. 

    So your example (which by the way ought to be "sixty's", but never mind)

    Well, according to you, "sixtie's" should be fine, hence my example

    English is not science. It is entirely social. It is defined by social conventions and social norms. English is what English speakers define it to be, by majority democratic ... *snip*

     Language has conventions for the simple reason that it makes it easier for people to learn. As I said earlier, the apostrophe in this instance is wrong, and the fact that lots of people were doing it doesn't make it any less wrong. What happened is that people learned it was wrong now check as they write. It's how things progress.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , cbae wrote

    That would be "its beauty". Smiley

     

    Well caught, but no. Your wrong.

    You see, a lot of people say "it's" when they really mean "its", but because a lot of people do it then it's automatically right. And if you say otherwise then I'm afraid your stifling language creativity.

    And don't you dare point out that I said "your" when I meant "you're" because a lot of people do that too, and by drawing my attention to my mistake your just killing my creative use of punctuation and language.

    Honestly, your all just phillystines.

     

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Ray7 wrote

    Er, yes it is a greengrocer's apostrophe. 

    It's not.

    We've already covered this: the addition of punctuation is fine for creativity and/or clarity. The apostrophe in 1960's does neither.

    Punctuation is not about creativity or clarity. It is about social norms.

    it is not harder to read sentences that have no capital letters, yet we do it all the time. and, creat!vity ! additions" of punctuat!on to (sent)ences doesnt excuse it:Perplexed lack of gramaticality!?

    We capitalize and the first letter of sentences, and we put periods at the end of sentences not because doing so is beautiful or because it adds clarity, but because that is what everyone does.

    This is the whole point of English grammar. English grammar is not a bunch of rules dreamt (or dreamed) up by the elite and foisted upon the rest of us. It is dreamed up by the hoi polloi and the elite, grumble as they do, eventually have to suck it up. 

    Well, according to you, "sixtie's" should be fine, hence my example

    No. Neither sixtie (which is a word you just made up) and sixty (which is a noun) are numerals. "The Beatles were popular in the sixty's" uses the greengrocer's apostrophe because the apostrophe is creating a plural of a noun. "The Beatles were popular in the 60's" does not (and is grammatical) because 60 is a numeral.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Ray7 wrote

    Well caught, but no. Your wrong.

    You see, a lot of people say "it's" when they really mean "its", but because a lot of people do it then it's automatically right. And if you say otherwise then I'm afraid your stifling language creativity.

    Perhaps. But its versus it's has a meaningful difference (both are valid words with different meanings), which makes it less likely they will converge. Also the mistake isn't made very often, so it's in no danger of becoming grammatical any time soon:

    Generic Forum Image

    Similarly your/you're:

    Generic Forum Image

    But not 60's versus 60s:

    Generic Forum Image

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    Anyway, fun as this discussion was, it's starting to get repetitive, and it wasn't particularly on-topic to start off with.

    It was fun whilst it lasted! If anyone wants to discuss it further, there's always http://english.stackexchange.com/ Smiley

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , evildictait​or wrote

    Anyway, fun as this discussion was, it's starting to get repetitive, and it wasn't particularly on-topic to start off with.

    It was fun whilst it lasted! If anyone wants to discuss it further, there's always http://english.stackexchange.com/ Smiley

    I always wondered why one would use "whilst" instead of "while" in cases when one is not attempting to be poetic. It does, after all, take more effort to type that extra letter. Just sayin'.

    Smiley

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    I always wondered why one would use "whilst" instead of "while" in cases when one is not attempting to be poetic. It does, after all, take more effort to type that extra letter. Just sayin'.

    Both while and whilst are ancient, though while is older. There's no difference in meaning between them. Whilst has survived in British English but has died out in the American English.

    But why is there a difference? Well, the form ending in -st actually contains the -s of the genitive ending (which we still have today, though usually written using the possessive apostrophe form 's).

    In Middle English, this was often added to words used as adverbs (for example: while became whiles). What seems to have happened is that an excrescent (parasitic) -t was later added in the south of England  (to whilest), and this contracted to whilst.

    So we end up with amidst/amidamongst/among, whilst/while and so on (with the -st forms being the newer, even though they sound older), where both words have identical meaning, and the only guide as to which to use is the preference of the author.

    As with many things in English, this is a case where there is no clear rule; it is a stylistic choice of the author which one to use. Both while and whilst are valid and interchangeable. Like spelled and spelt. Or antennae versus antennas. Or 1960's versus 1960s

    Smiley

  • User profile image
    elmer

Comments closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.