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Some What Different by Big-R

richardshagrin

Today I read a random story from the archives by an author with no email address. It looks like there is no way to contact him. Ordinarily I would send suggestions for a correction to the author, but that isn't possible in this case. I mention it here for its amusement potential.

"When Brenda began having minstrel periods they used condoms for their couplings."
I wonder which minstrel songs she sung?

"Bill finds he is gifted with the ability to read and alter minds. He uses that gift to enhance his and others' sex life. He alters the troubled minds of others and becomes fiancially secure."

Possibly he has fiancée security?

Every story needs at least one editor, creative spelling is just one reason why.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@richardshagrin


others' sex life.


That's either

other's sex life

or

others' sex lives

other's is singular; others' is plural

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


That's either:

other's sex life

or

others' sex lives

... other's is singular; others' is plural


Agreed. It is a point that has troubled me at times because the spellchecker of OpenOffice flags other's as an error.

I checked my Oxford Dictionary but could find nothing definitive.

For a while I concluded that others must behave like person pronouns and not take an apostrophe for the possessive form (although it did seem odd to me).

I eventually spotted a note: "Most idioms containing other are at the entries of the (other word)".

When I looked under each other there was an example: "each other's clothes".

Problem solved - there is nothing unusual to consider when forming the possessive forms of pronouns using other, else, and similar words. It is only the personal pronouns that you need to remember never have an apostrophe.

I think ... ?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play
Updated:

@richardshagrin


"When Brenda began having minstrel periods they used condoms for their couplings."

I wonder which minstrel songs she sung?


Shouldn't that be:
I wonder which minstrel songs they sung for their duets?
... after the guitar was restrung with condoms because were cheaper than guitar strings.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


When I looked under each other there was an example: "each other's clothes".


Even though "clothes" is plural, the use of "other's" is singular because "each" is singular. But how many times have you see:

Each other's noses.

That means they each have more than one nose. That rubs me wrong more than drug does you. (should be each other's nose)

(and Firefox underlined "other's" as a spelling error. It says to take out the apostrophe, but they're wrong.)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Firefox underlined "other's" as a spelling error. It says to take out the apostrophe, but they're wrong

Thanks. It took me a while to figure out they had that wrong.
I will try to avoid rubbing your noses in anything nasty.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Thanks. It took me a while to figure out they had that wrong.

I've always wondered that too, and my editors (all of them) have never flagged my use of the plural "other's".

I'm now having to backtrack thru each of my books, searching for its use (do you have any idea how often "other's" pops up in most stories?

Anyone want to get together to form an SOL collective lawsuit over the Windows spellchecker? Together, we've probably accumulated a collective $0.03 in damage!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Do not forgot to check for possessive forms of else as well.
I recall you asked about that once.
My spellchecker flags all of elses, else's and elses' as errors. They cannot all be wrong.
***
To SB or others: Do you have any other advice about working out whether compounds including words like other, else, some, each, every, etc. are singular or plural.
I tried looking it up in CMOS once and, typically, their explanation was almost incomprehensible.
It's not rocket science, but it's not intuitively obvious either.

red61544

@richardshagrin

When Brenda began having minstrel periods


I think Sir Walter Scott must have known Brenda since one of his more famous poems is "The Lay of the Last Minstrel".

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@red61544

I don't think we need to go over lie and lay. I understand when you are horizontal, as on a bed, and tell an untruth, you are lying. Otherwise, if you tell the truth you are laying. Or is that when you are having sexual relations with a Minstrel?

Do your characters want to lie down or lay down?

Replies:   red61544
red61544

@richardshagrin

Do your characters want to lie down or lay down?


Neither. The OED, as one of the more obscure meanings, lists: "(old use) a poem that was written to be sung, usually telling a story". Most often, the lays were sung by minstrels who may or may not have been in the middle of their menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, it's bloody good of you to respond to my post.

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