Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's

New Year's sometimes puzzles me. For example, I've never been sure why there is an apostrophe between Year and s.

Furthermore, I've never understood why dropping that ball in Times Square officially starts the next, or new, year. For that matter, why is there no apostrophe between the Time and the s? Huh?

Pay attention. Here comes an awkward segue.

Nor can I understand why the New York Times would ruin this happy season by announcing they have hired that pompous wingnut Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard for op-ed pieces. Pestilence followed by disease. However, maybe that's a new place to insert unused apostrophes. Between Kristol and his s.

Note to readers: now that I got that out of my craw, we shift back to New Year's.

The NYT shines best when it lets writers editorialize about horses. No, not the horse Bill Kristol rode in on. I'm talking about Verlyn Klinkenborg's thoughtful opinion piece today. She writes a sensitive piece about the rhythms of rural life, of horses and of New Year's. She has a beautiful touch, beautiful contact with that reality. It's only a few paragraphs.

Happy New Year's with or without the apostrophe.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your point about the apostrophe is...what? Answer: It is abused every second of every day, even by newspapers. The most egregious offense: The Christmas card that says "Best Wishes from the Kranks Home" or "Tne Kranks' Wish You..." The apostrophe, missing in the first example and painfully present in the second, never seems to be comfortable at home or abroad.

Anonymous said...

There are many Times, as there is more than one Times, but there is only one Times Square, I think.

Anonymous said...

Only time the Time's shines is when it's use to start the fire in the back lot barrel of other trash. AND, there ain't no balls on Time's Square in the off season.

Mystery Woman said...

As you can see by the post from the first anonymous writer, you shouldn't even bring up the subject of apostrophes around some of us. Everywhere we go is abuse of this simple form of punctuation by illiterates who insist on using it in print to indicate a plural rather than a possessive. (One that really drives me crazy is "DVD's", instead of simply "DVDs". I even saw a sign on which the pointy-headed advertiser went one step further and announced he had "DVD,s" for sale.)

Buddy said...

The misuse of apostrophe's drives me nut's, and what a useless compulsion that's for me! When plural's are made with them, its like I have to take the author by it's scrawny neck and shake the ignorance out of both end's.
Of course, more to the point, the question at hand is about New Year's, which is actually lazy for the possessive New Year's Eve or Day. Saying "Happy New Year" would avoid the issue which got you out of bed today, George, and will also put you to bed tonight. In short, the Times, it are a-changin'...

Anonymous said...

Bill Kristol can only improve the diatribe that the Times puts out. Wake up and smell the apostrophes,apostrophe's,
apostrophes'.
-------Goose

Anonymous said...

To George and those of you who post here -- thank you. Your thoughts not only enlighten, they make me laugh out loud and then sigh for those days when writing was witty, concise, funny and meaningful. Keep it up in 2008!! You've got a middle-aged semi-journalist here who's trying to convince young minds there is more to writing than cryptic text messaging and rhymes on the back of bathroom doors. Thanks for making my day more intelligent and, in the words of the owner of our newspaper, "Keep firin'!"

Denise

bcherry168 said...

Got to agree with Goose on the Times. Why Bill would permit himself to become the "token" right wingnut amongst all those lefty wingnuts is beyond me. Must have no pride.

As for apostrophes...a POX on them.

Anonymous said...

If you'll allow me a brief vacation from my sense of humor to put on my Copy Editor Hat:

When you really think about it, you're not wishing people a "Happy New Year's" so much as one "Happy New Year." The phrase "New Year's" probably comes from the fact that before you can have a "New Year" you need a "New Year's Eve." This is where our society's Thing About Contractions comes into play. So what you're really doing when you are wishing somebody a "Happy New Year's" is saying, "Have fun at that party tonight! I hope you find some drunk broad to give a wet, sloppy kiss to when the ball drops."

Personally, I just say "Happy New Year," but that's less out of a sense of grammatical dignity and more because I never get invited to those sorts of parties and hate that everybody else gets to have all the fun.

ramsey said...

I hate apostrophe misuse almost as much as quotation mark misuse.

Happy "New Year".

Anonymous said...

I know the answer to the apostrophe questions but not why the NYT is legitimizing that idiot--or why Newsweek will soon be running Karl Rove's filthy propaganda.


Happy New Year anyway and many more to come.

John Reply said...

"Happy New Year" would avoid the issue which got you out of bed today, George, and will also put you to bed tonight. In short, the Times, it are a-changin'...

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