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lunababymoonchild

Is This Grammatically Correct?

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I would say so, yes.

 

One PoW (with or without full stops in the acronym: I think using them is a bit old-fashioned now)

Two or more PoWs

 

Something belonging to two or more PoWs, such as their dog, would be the PoWs' dog. Just like it would be the boys' dog, if the dog belonged to two boys.

So, "the PoWs' escape".

 

Glad I know something useful!

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I would say so, yes.

 

One PoW (with or without full stops in the acronym: I think using them is a bit old-fashioned now)

Two or more PoWs

 

Something belonging to two or more PoWs, such as their dog, would be the PoWs' dog. Just like it would be the boys' dog, if the dog belonged to two boys.

So, "the PoWs' escape".

 

Glad I know something useful!

 

 

Thanks very much MM. 

 

I was struggling because they are Prisoners of War not Prisoner of Wars, if you see what I mean.  I did introduce the subject saying PoWs though so got tangled up in my own reasoning.

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Ah - ok. I think the agreed acronym is PoW which then has to be pluralised as PoWs -don't know what else it could be. Language is just what we want it to be, really. As long as we know what it means and it's not confusing anyone, then it's correct.

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It might be right, but to me it still looks wrong.  Only if you say the letters only 'PoW' does it sound correct.  If you say it in full, my inclination is to pluralize the first word, as you would is sisters-in-law or brothers-in-law. 

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It might be right, but to me it still looks wrong.  Only if you say the letters only 'PoW' does it sound correct.  If you say it in full, my inclination is to pluralize the first word, as you would is sisters-in-law or brothers-in-law. 

Yes, that's right. In full, pluralize the first word. As an abbreviation or acronym, pluralize the new word

And pronouncing P O Ws sounds right to my ears.

Someone will find the opposite now.

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Language is just what we want it to be, really.

Only up to a point, I would say. We mustn't become like Humpty Dumpty (“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”)

 

I think it has to be three POWs, not three PoWs... and definitely not three P.o.W.s - absolutely not.

 

The apostrophe is right, though, strangely enough. (The rule is the same for Members of Parliament > MPs > MPs' salaries...)

Edited by jfp

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Only up to a point, I would say. We mustn't become like Humpty Dumpty (“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”)

Nice to see you back, jfp! You are of course right. My emphasis was on the "we", whereas Humpty's is on "I". Language only understood by the speaker is no language at all, really. But if everyone agrees to understand something, then I have little patience for mavens telling us we're all wrong.

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When it comes to English is there right or wrong? You can be pedantic but language is a living thing and changes by day. Come round here and ask them to use an apostrophe :)

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My two cents on this; oral and written language are vastly different things, not least of which differences is that you can't ask a letter or a book 'say what?' Or 'I beg your pardon?'or 'come again?' So I think clarity is paramount in written language. And proper punctuation helps enormously with that.

Edited by Dan

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When it comes to English is there right or wrong? You can be pedantic but language is a living thing...

 

Yes, there is right and wrong, in English as in other languages. It's codified by grammar. More specifically, prescriptive grammar. (On the other hand, the descriptive grammatical approach is: That's what it says, therefore it's right.)

 

To state that "language is a living thing" shows a very approximate understanding of both language on the one hand and living things on the other...

 

The absence of rules and constraints is the linguistic equivalent of anarchy. It tends not to work very well. People end up getting hurt.

 

But thanks for allowing me to be pedantic... ;)

 

(A pedant is, after all, someone who understands the rules - and who is judged rather hastily by someone who probably doesn't.)

 

 

I think Dan's distinction between oral and written language makes a valid point, though.

 

 

 

 

Edited by jfp

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There is right and wrong jfp but after living with a linguist for awhile I got to see maybe a balance?  The spoken word changes so much with new words, phrases, memes etc being added to the dictionary. How does a writer convey the way language changes through the written word? I like writers that take a chance with grammar.

She pointed me at Stephen Pinker https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/oct/06/steven-pinker-alleged-rules-of-writing-superstitions  Style and meaning always trump grammar slaves?

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 I like writers that take a chance with grammar.

 

Depends what sort of chances the writers take.  I recently complained about a book that did away with speech marks and I ended up by abandoning it because it got tedious to read, and I've decided not to plough on with books like that any longer, there are too many other books to read.  Hilary Mantel takes masses of chances with grammar,  style etc and because she's a consumate writer it works.

 

For me the basis of grammar is that it's not there to bind and stifle but to ease understanding, the whole point of teaching people where to put an apostrophe is so that you don't have to wonder whether there's more than one POW or f something elbongs to the POW - POW's, POWs.  And so on.

 

And the proof of needing grammar to make the written word iintelligible is on internet forums (not this one thankfully!) where sometimes it is really hard to understabd what someone is trying to say.  Or too much of an effort.

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I'm a big Pinker fan too. He gets it spot on.

I think there is a big difference between teaching grammar to learners, who otherwise will produce unintelligible gobbledygook, and the way native speakers use the language. Most of what we say and write obeys grammar instinctively. The big problem is the written word, where punctuation has to do the job done, in speech, by prosody. That's hard to grasp, and, like Viccie, I think it is becoming frequently ignored in online communication, where it's seen as fussy, rather than aiding meaning.

(I am an English teacher, and generally not someone who likes saying that standards are slipping. But I really see a deterioration in punctuation use by otherwise literate young people.)

 

I saw a good example of this just the other day. My friend (never a punctuater) was getting me to puppysit for him, and we were discussing a drop off time. Jokingly, he texted "Up at six to take [son] to work do you want her then". Without punctuation, I read this as his party animal son getting a lift to a "work do" at 6am, and jokingly replied along those lines. Ok, the other explanation was more likely, but the attitude of "it's just a text" caused ambiguity and confusion.

 

The other one I often use is the difference between "Let's eat Gran!" and " Let's eat, Gran! "

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My boss is an eloquent speaker. But he writes the way he talks. His sentences are usually long with an eclectic structure, with too many clauses and little punctuation.

Application of rules would definitely help.

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I don't have an opinion on this matter except when something I read is obviously wrong it jars me.  I did find it funny yesterday with the infamous Mr. Trump tweeting about an action that was 'unpresidented' instead of unprecedented and he took quite a ribbing for it.  Which, of course, has nothing to do with punctuation.

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I think it is important especially when writing. That may well have been the way I was brought up and my education. I hate it when I see people writing 'to' when they clearly mean 'too'. They look ignorant and uneducated, imho, which was the reason I was given when I was forced to go to school "you don't want to grow up ignorant". They were right.

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