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英语语法:235 Why Doesn’t “Veterans Day” Have an A

时间:2010-11-19 03:15来源:互联网 提供网友:fi1171   字体: [ ]
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by Mignon Fogarty

This week in the United States we celebrate Veterans Day, a holiday to remember the end of World War I in 1918, but the name of the holiday brings up a common question: Do we need an apostrophe in the word “Veterans”?
The short answer is no, because the U.S. government gave the holiday its official name, and they chose to write it without the apostrophe, but in today’s episode, we’ll explore why it’s grammatically correct with or without an apostrophe.
The podcast edition of this article was sponsored by StyleEase Software. Get 15% off StyleEase for APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian Style Software at www.styleease.com/ggpodcast.html (or, with the coupon1 code: ggpodcast)

Since many people are confused, you’ve probably seen "Veterans Day" written three ways:
 The right way: Veterans Day
 Another potentially right way: Veterans’ Day
 The wrong way: Veteran’s Day
 
Avoid the Singular Possessive
Let’s address the wrong way first. If you put the apostrophe before the final “s” in “Veterans,” you’re making the singular word “Veteran” possessive. You’re saying it is the day of a single veteran or a day to celebrate a single veteran, and that’s clearly wrong. It’s a day for all veterans.
There are many phrases like “Veterans Day” where this issue comes up. You often see things like “writer's strike,” “homeowner's association” and “farmer's market” written with the apostrophe before the final “s” in the first word, and it’s wrong. All these phrases refer to groups--writers, homeowners, and farmers--they are not describing the strike, association, or market of a single person.
Some style guides, such as the Guardian2 Style Guide, do, however, remind us to use the singular form for phrases such as “writer’s cramp3” and “collector’s item.” It’s the cramp of one writer and the item of one collector. When in doubt, check a good dictionary; it will often give you the correct spelling of such phrases.
An Apostrophe Makes a Plural4 Possessive
But it gets trickier5 with the remaining two choices. If you put an apostrophe at the end of the word “Veterans,” you’re making the plural possessive. You’re saying it is the day of the Veterans--the day that belongs to the Veterans--and that’s true, at least at some level.
Further, the possessive case is also called the genitive case, and its use isn’t limited strictly6 to possession in the “I own this car” kind of way. It can be used to show other kinds of relationships. For example, if I say “George is Juan’s brother,” “Juan’s” has an apostrophe “s” a the end, but I’m not implying that Juan owns George. Using “Veterans’” with an apostrophe at the end is certainly a legitimate7 way to describe Veterans Day.
No Apostrophe Makes “Veterans” an Adjective
If you don’t put an apostrophe at the end of “Veterans,” you’re using the word as an adjective that modifies “Day.” Just as “tree” tells you what kind of farm I’m talking about in the phrase “tree farm,” and “golf” tells you what kind of club I’m talking about in the phrase “golf club,” “Veterans” tells you what kind of day I’m talking about in the phrase “Veterans Day.” It’s also a legitimate way to describe the holiday. Nouns used as adjectives like this are sometimes called attributives.
I can’t find the reference, but I remember reading somewhere that it’s becoming more common for people to drop the apostrophe and choose the adjective form.
People Will Argue About Apostrophes
I should note that there are credible8 people who firmly believe an apostrophe is required on phrases such as “Veterans Day” and “farmers market.” It can be a contentious9 topic, and ultimately it’s a style choice. You may have to defend your choice no matter which one you make.
Deciding Whether You Want a Possessive or an Adjective
The key question I ask myself when deciding whether to use an apostrophe is to consider whether I’m truly talking about possession. If I am, I need an apostrophe. If I’m not, I use the adjective.
Capitalizing Holiday Names
Finally, “Veterans Day” is capitalized because it is the name of a holiday which makes it a proper noun. We capitalize the names of all official holidays in English.
 


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1 coupon nogz3     
n.息票,配给票,附单
参考例句:
  • The coupon can be used once only.此优惠券只限使用一次。
  • I have a coupon for ten pence off a packet of soap.我有一张优惠券买一盒肥皂可以便宜十便士。
2 guardian 8ekxv     
n.监护人;守卫者,保护者
参考例句:
  • The form must be signed by the child's parents or guardian. 这张表格须由孩子的家长或监护人签字。
  • The press is a guardian of the public weal. 报刊是公共福利的卫护者。
3 cramp UoczE     
n.痉挛;[pl.](腹)绞痛;vt.限制,束缚
参考例句:
  • Winston stopped writing,partly because he was suffering from cramp.温斯顿驻了笔,手指也写麻了。
  • The swimmer was seized with a cramp and had to be helped out of the water.那个在游泳的人突然抽起筋来,让别人帮着上了岸。
4 plural c2WzP     
n.复数;复数形式;adj.复数的
参考例句:
  • Most plural nouns in English end in's '.英语的复数名词多以s结尾。
  • Here you should use plural pronoun.这里你应该用复数代词。
5 trickier 8f11f8d26b8de2fe0f7a88a0d6c7708f     
adj.狡猾的( tricky的比较级 );(形势、工作等)复杂的;机警的;微妙的
参考例句:
  • This is the general rule, but some cases are trickier than others. 以上是一般规则,但某些案例会比别的案例更为棘手。 来自互联网
  • The lower the numbers go, the trickier the problems get. 武器的数量越低,问题就越复杂。 来自互联网
6 strictly GtNwe     
adv.严厉地,严格地;严密地
参考例句:
  • His doctor is dieting him strictly.他的医生严格规定他的饮食。
  • The guests were seated strictly in order of precedence.客人严格按照地位高低就座。
7 legitimate L9ZzJ     
adj.合法的,合理的,合乎逻辑的;v.使合法
参考例句:
  • Sickness is a legitimate reason for asking for leave.生病是请假的一个正当的理由。
  • That's a perfectly legitimate fear.怀有这种恐惧完全在情理之中。
8 credible JOAzG     
adj.可信任的,可靠的
参考例句:
  • The news report is hardly credible.这则新闻报道令人难以置信。
  • Is there a credible alternative to the nuclear deterrent?是否有可以取代核威慑力量的可靠办法?
9 contentious fa9yk     
adj.好辩的,善争吵的
参考例句:
  • She was really not of the contentious fighting sort.她委实不是好吵好闹的人。
  • Since then they have tended to steer clear of contentious issues.从那时起,他们总想方设法避开有争议的问题。
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