posted Wed, 14 Mar 2007
From today’s paper:
In what had become a grammatical Gordian knot, the Arkansas Senate supported a resolution Tuesday declaring "Arkansas's" the correct way to write the state's possessive case.
The Senate vote came after a few groans and an introduction by Sen. Jim Hill, who said he studied the history surrounding "the much-debated apostrophe-s."
After receiving a single question, the Senate approved the resolution on a voice vote, although a few "no" votes could be heard.
Hill, D-Nashville, lamented the lack of enthusiasm on the floor.
"This thing is seeded in history," he said. "I expected more intelligent questions than this."
At boot camp, I told Tony that I was relieved to know that Arkansas had at last settled the thorny issue of—
He held up his hand. “Don’t say it,” he groaned. “I cannot believe the Arkansas legislature wasted time on this.”
Which of course prompted questions.
Me: They resolved that sticky issue of the plural.
Tony: No, of the possessive.
Me: Right. I stand corrected.
Tony: “Arkansas” is possessive with an “apostrophe s.”
Cecilia: I thought possessives of words ending with “s” were formed with just an apostrophe?
Tony: You and every style book in the world.
Melissa: They must not read the Bible. It doesn’t say anything about “Jesus’ssssssssss.”
Me: Are they going to tackle the grocer’s apostrophe next?
Tony: I cannot believe they spent hours and days debating this.
Melissa: Did they consult other states ending in “s,” like Kansas?
Jane: What’s there to debate?
Me: We’re talking about it now, aren’t we?
Jim: Is the plural “s” in Arkansas silent, too?
The end of the line
11 months ago