Episode Twenty: Goal Setting

Cover Artist: noririna
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Featuring: Flame chats with Holly about writing groups, and then Flerret chat about how they view resolutions and new years before they offer some tips and tricks for achieving writing/creating goals. Then we hear from you in Community Talks, get a visit from the Grammar Mustelid, and enjoy your events forecast.

Full Episode

Interview: Holly, Creator Corner: Goal Setting, Let’s Talk: Flerret’s Goals Community Talks, Grammar Mustelid, Events Forecast

(Scroll down for individual segments)

Show Notes:

Thanks to noririna, Holly, only, Marie, and everyone who wrote in to contribute. The Grammar Mustelid full script is at the end of this post – please scroll!


Coming up on this episode…

Interview: Holly
Writing Groups

Creator Corner: Goal Setting
Flame Likes Intentions, Ferret Likes Resolutions, SMART Goals, Lego Goals, Goals You Can Control, Tracking Tools, Project Management Tools, Spreadsheets Warm Ferret’s Heart

Let’s Talk: Flerret’s Goals
Ferret’s 5 Resolutions, Flame’s 2021 Intentions, Changes for a Post-Pandemic World, Flexibility

Community Talks, Grammar Mustelid, Events Forecast

Music Credit:

On My Way by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4163-on-my-way
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Grammar Mustelid Script: APOSTROPHES

  • It’s time for one of my most requested grammar corners EVER. This is APOSTROPHES! First off, don’t panic. If apostrophes confuse you, you’re not alone. Think of them as grammatical homophones. There are some structures that look or sound the same, but for different reasons, which makes it hard to learn the rules of apostrophes just from reading. So you can forgive yourself for being confused. But it’s actually not that complicated.
  • There are only TWO cases where you use an apostrophe: contractions/omissions and possessives. Then there are a lot of cases where you might feel the urge to use an apostrophe, but you don’t need to.
  • First up: contractions and omissions. You use an apostrophe to indicate letters or sounds that are missing or have been removed. Contractions are two words that have had letters or sounds removed then smushed together. Don’t, can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, would’ve, let’s. All of these can be split back into the separate words. Do not, can not, will not, should not, would have, let us. Some of them we’re used to seeing either way, like “I am” and “I’m” but some are pretty much only over used as contractions these days like “o’clock” or “let’s”
  • We also sometimes use apostrophes to indicate sounds that are dropped in speech, like writing an accent phonetically. We might write “singin’” with the g dropped and the apostrophe on the end to indicate someone who says “singin” instead of “singing”
  • In both these cases, the apostrophes tells us something has been removed, whether it’s to describe how something sounds, or to form a contraction
  • The second use is possessives. Possessives are constructions that indicate that something belongs to something else. The morpheme that indicates possessive in English is “apostrophe s”. Ferret’s fics, the front door’s lock. That book’s cover. The cover belongs to the book.
  • The morpheme that indicates plurals is “s”. Out loud, many possessives and plurals are homophones. This can cause a lot of confusion. Ferret’s fics. Three ferrets. The word ferrets sounds the same in both of these cases, but the first one is written with an apostrophe and the second isn’t.
  • A common grammatical mistake is called the grocer’s apostrophe because it’s so common for greengrocer’s signs to have plurals with unnecessary apostrophes in them. “Apple’s on sale!”
  • The only time when you might use an apostrophe to form a plural is the very rare case of pluralizing an initialization or acronym, or the plural of a single letter. So “That word has two u’s in it.” This was born out of a need to prevent confusion (without the apostrophe, we’d think it was the word “us”), so if you don’t REALLY need it, don’t use it. You might have the inclination to pluralize names, especially ones that end in s like James by adding ‘s but this is not correct. “Two James” or “Two Jameses”
  • Another common point of confusion is possessive pronouns. In english, we have a group of pronouns that are used to indicate possession. Hers, his, mine, ours, theirs, its, yours. There are no apostrophes in possessive pronouns, even though they indicate possession. They come with their possessiveness already attached, much like Steve and Tony, so you don’t need to add the apostrophe s morpheme to create possessiveness.
  • This can cause problems because sometimes we end up with homophones that cross these boundaries. For example, the word “its”. There are two words that sound like “its”. One is the possessive pronoun that indicates something belongs to it. So The fridge’s handle. Its handle. Since this is a possessive pronoun, it doesn’t have an apostrophe. But the other word “it’s” is a contraction. It’s a squishing up of the words “it” and “is”. 
  • Similarly with “your” and “you’re”. We have “your” the possessive pronoun, used in cases like “your car” and “you’re” the contraction which is short for “you are.”
  • Luckily there’s a REALLY easy way to test for this. Say the expanded version of the contraction outloud and see if it works. If it doesn’t, you should use the form without the apostrophe. If it does, use the apostrophe. 
  • You – are – dinner vs. Your dinner
  • You – are – pretty vs. Your pretty
  • It – is – nice out vs. Its nice out
  • It is too late for loud music vs. Its too late for loud music
  • Don’t pull its tail vs Don’t pull it is tail
  • So what about combining plurals and possessives? And what about possessives for words ending in s?
  • If you have a singular word or name ending in s, like James, you have the choice of either adding just an apostrophe, or an apostrophe s. If you’re working under a certain style guide, you’ll want to check what it says – this is important if you’re writing for work or school! You also want to make vitally sure that whatever you’re doing, you’re being consistent. There are also two ways to pronounce this construction – James or Jamesez, and most people who pronounce the first way would choose just the apostrophe, and the second way, apostrophe s.
  • How do we form possessives from plurals? Just the apostrophe.
  • The cat’s milk is a singular possessive – one cat owns the milk
  • The cats’ milk is a plural possessive – there is more than one cat, and they all own the milk
  • Things get more complicated and harder to follow when we talk about compound or joint possessives – things that are owned by more than one entity that are different.
  • “Flame and Ferret’s podcast” means the single podcast of both ferret and flame
  • “Flame’s and Ferret’s podcasts” means there are two podcasts, one for each of flame and ferret
  • A confusion I see a lot is how to share ownership between YOU and someone else. “Flame and Ferret’s podcast” is easy but when I’m talking in first person I should say “Flame’s and my podcast.” with Flame’s having its own possessive construction “Flame’s” and “my” as the possessive personal pronoun (in adjectival form here). Please note that “I’s” is not a construction in English. Ever. It is never “Flame and I’s podcast.” Nope. “I” is a pronoun and has its own set possessive forms. Please do not use I’s.
  • It is common grammatical courtesy that in subject position, the other person or people come first, and you last. So it’s “Flame’s and my podcast” not “My and Flame’s podcast” or “Me and Flame’s podcast.” 
  • This is hard. It’s okay if it’s confusing. If you get stuck with these constructions, google “joint possession grammar” or “compound possession grammar” to find help and more examples.
  • So to sum up:
  • There are two cases when we use an apostrophe: contractions/omissions and possessive nouns. 
  • There are two cases where we might feel the urge to use an apostrophe, but we shouldn’t: plurals, and homophonic possessive pronouns.
  • If there’s anything else you want to hear on Grammar Mustelid, let me know. Happy apostropheing!

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