[rescue] SGI CPU Upgrade success!

William Enestvedt William.Enestvedt at jwu.edu
Tue Jul 15 08:16:28 CDT 2003

Sorry, can't resist:
> As an English major, I'd have to say that your latest correction
> is still probably wrong, but it would depend on Sheldon's original
> intent.
   As an English major educated by Jesuits (hah!), I ignored intent and went
looking for an absolute answer. The wonderful web site "Common Errors in
English" site -- which makes for some entertaining reading, I kid you not --
addresses use of the word people:
      "...in ordinary usage 'people' is usually understood to be
      plural, so much so that in the bad old days when dialect humor
      was popular having a speaker refer to 'you peoples' indicated
   He begins his discussion of apostrophes with, "First let's all join in a
hearty curse of the grammarians who inserted the wretched apostrophe into
possessives in the first place. It was all a mistake."
   He goes on to point out that the letter "s" at the end of a plural shuld be
gfollowed by an apostrophe to make it plural. (See
> Or, you could just leave it as it was and follow "peoples" with
> "[sic]", meaning 'intentionally so written' to show that it's
> an exact quote.
   I like the "sic" notation, though a lot of people think it's an indication
of condescension. (They're usually right.) Anyway, throw in a semicolon, and
people will be so intimidated that they won't darew question your apostrophe
-- or call it "discretionary punctuation" and do a lot of hand-waving about
how English is a living language. (Note: grammar school teachers and
professors of English don't buy the "living language" act.)
> (And I actually learned most of what I know about grammar from
> Latin classes, not English classes. They don't teach much grammar
> in English courses for some reason.)
   I learned more about English grammar from my high school german teacher
than anyone else. (Thanks, Herr Swatasky!)
Will Enestvedt
UNIX System Administrator
Johnson & Wales University -- Providence, RI

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