"greengrocer's apostrophe" (was Re: Cam(pb)ell)

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Aug 7 15:08:07 UTC 2000

At this point the Muse compels (not "*Compbells") me to insert the
following. Although the tune is probably unfamiliar to you, the verse is

-- Mark A. Mandel
   FIJAGH! Now, *filking*, on the other hand...


Editors' Waltz
Words (c) Mark A. Mandel 2000
ttto [i.e., to the tune of] "Witnesses' Waltz" (Leslie Fish)

 1. The last line of the chorus changes each time.
 2. In the last line of v.4, the stresses can be misleading, so I've marked a couple of them with a backtick (`)  before the stressed syllable.)

  Twelve thousand, half million, million and more,
  Misplaced apostrophe's, commas, galore,
  Spelling misteaks run-on sentences too
* You'd think we could find something better to do.

Come on, Elizabeth, William and Ted,
Grab your green eyeshades and pencils of red.
We'll go for a stroll and we'll exercise... pique
At what people do to the language they speak.

[Chorus, ending with...]
* The stories you'll hear are essentially true.

The signs in the market are rather a mess,
Selling _apple's_ and _pear's_  with apostrophe-"S".
And saying their flounder is _quote, fresh, unquote_
Suggests it's just two or three weeks off the boat.

* It's ignorance makes them behave as they do.

Computer typesetting is ever so fine
For breaking long words that run over the line.
But here in the paper, I'm sorry to tell,
It hyphenates "moonglow" between "G" and "L".**

* Computers can be mighty ignorant, too.

Next we'll drop in on a woman I know
Whose data was wrecked, a day's work at one blow.
A technical writer bears part of the blame
Who `thought "substi`tute" and "replace" mean the same.

* Let's hope it won't happen to me or to you.

Some say we're nitpickers, pedants, and worse,
That care for precision in writing's perverse.
But tell me, would you want your car's brakes repaired
>From manuals not written by people who cared?

* Your life could depend on the work that we do!

** NY Times, Mar. 7, 2000, p. A20, col. 2, 2nd paragraph from the bottom

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