In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 6, 2007 / 16 Adar, 5767

The Great Apostrophe War

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Poor Steve Harrelson. He's a state representative from Texarkana, Ark., and he agreed to sponsor a little ol', supposedly innocuous resolution at this year's session of the Arkansas legislature when BAM!

The Honorable from Texarkana found he'd wandered smack dab into the middle of the Great Apostrophe War, which has been going on since there was an apostrophe to war over.

Mr. Harrelson was just trying to do an old family friend a favor, and all punctuation broke loose. The friend is Parker Westbrook, a collector of Arkansiana who's usually in the vicinity when this state's distinctive history, language, politics or culture in general comes into disputed play.

Good ol' Parker long ago took a firm stand in the grammatical war over whether the possessive of this state's name should be spelled Arkansas' or Arkansas's.

Mr. Westbrook favors Arkansas's with the final s. Indeed, he's made it something of a personal crusade. Which explains why he called on Rep. Steve Harrelson to further his cause by proposing that Arkansas's be declared the official possessive of the state's name. Little did Steve Harrelson realize he was walking into a linguistic minefield.

In this statewide civil war over the proper possessive of Arkansas, both sides fire all kinds of citations and references at each other like artillery barrages. The humble little apostrophe, a mere squiggle on the page, seems to set off the fiercest emotions among grammarians.

The Great Apostrophe War has even been known to break out sporadically here at the statewide paper. Last time, it was touched off by a polite letter from The Honorable and eloquent Buzz (formally Morris) Arnold, federal appellate judge, scholar and language maven.

His Honor urged us to tack an s on to the sobriquet that appears just under our name on the front page: Arkansas' Newspaper. I prefer Arkansas's myself, but long ago resigned myself to having lost that fight.

Indeed, I've become almost fond of that grammatical barbarism. Maybe because it's emblematic of this state's gritty determination to go its own way, thank you, no matter what the prevailing fashion. Have you ever had a favorite shirt with a small irregularity in it, or a wobbly table with one leg shorter than the others that's always been in your kitchen? To fix it would be a kind of sacrilege, an offense against tradition.

So it is with Arkansas'. The missing s is a silent tribute to this state's mule-stubborn independence where language (and so much else) is concerned. It lets you know where you are. Welcome to the frontier, pilgrim.

I still have a little coffee table, a souvenir of the time when Danish Modern was all the rage, with a neat, professional saw cut in it, a reminder of my carpentry skills when I was helping the boy — who now has two boys of his own — build a racer for the Soapbox Derby. I was chagrined when it happened, but I wouldn't trade that cut in the table for anything now. It's acquired a sentimental value. That's how I've come to feel about that final, absent s in Arkansas' Newspaper.

But I was grateful to Judge Arnold for raising this question still again. Such disputes give us inky wretches something to argue about when lesser issues grow tiresome, like world peace or the future of Western Civilization, such as it is.

Happily, this debate over the correct placement of the apostrophe is inexhaustible, mainly because there is no universally accepted way of spelling the possessive of Arkansas, or about using the apostrophe in general.

To quote the Oxford Companion to English Literature, "There never was a golden age in which the rules for the possessive apostrophe were clear-cut and known and understood and followed by most educated people."

This free-for-all goes a long way back. And may have a long run ahead of it, breaking out in schools, newspapers, libraries, at the family dinner table and now in the Legislature, all to no clear end. This debate surely is To Be Continued. Which should be educational. And fun. Not a minor achievement for one little ol' punctuation mark. How 'bout them apostrophes!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.