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Do's and Don'ts - Queue — LiveJournal
January 25th, 2006
11:51 am


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Do's and Don'ts
"Do's and don'ts" seems weird to me because of the inconsistency (using an apostrophe for pluralizing the first word but no apostrophe for pluralizing the second word). But anything else seems more weird ("dos and don'ts" makes me think I'm writing in Spanish, and "do's and don't's" is just too bizarre). I think I'm just going to have to go with "do's and don'ts", but I'm curious to hear if anyone has a different take on this.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
Rephrase to "do and don't guidelines"?
[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't that be "do-and-don't guidelines"?
[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
I would say that "dos and don'ts" is correct, without a doubt.

In the context of "don'ts", "dos" still looks a bit odd but at least scans ok.
[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Lewis Carroll was fond of spelling "can't" as "ca'n't", arguing that "n't" stands for "not", so "can't" would stand for "canot", which isn't the word; the word is "cannot", which would become "cann't" then we need to elide again, "ca'n't".

As far as I can tell, this usage didn't catch on with any other writers.
[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
"ca'n't" looks like it should be from a recent SF novel, being some odd, specialized alien thing described by an apostrophe-addicted writer.
[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
That strikes me as lame. It depends on the premise that the apostrophe can only elide one letter, which is false; otherwise, can't pretty clearly represents can[no]t with only one apostrophe required.

Sha'n't, on the other hand, I won't argue with. ;-) But now I really don't know what to make of won't.
[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
"dos and don'ts" because odd as "dos" is, it's better than apostrophe inconsistency--which I noticed right away when I read your subject line.
[User Picture]
Date:January 26th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
"Dos and do nots"
"Do's and do not's"

"Dos" looks wrong. So does "not's."

Stupid English. Stupid orcs.
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