Saturday, June 15, 2013
English is a hell of a language--Especially in Panama
I don't even know how I notice these things. I just have a knack for discovering oddities. I was walking around downtown Panama City one morning when I noticed this plate at the front of a taxi. I was walking between it and another car, so I just barely saw it out of the corner of my eye.
Scare Face it reads. I'm pretty sure the owner of this car was going for Scarface, which if you're referring to the movie, is only one word. Even if you separate the two, you should get Scar Face. So, unless this guy's nickname really is Scare Face, which would be quite an insulting nickname, he probably just fell victim to the difficulties of mastering the English language.
Being a blogger, and a writer of articles that sometimes find their way onto the Internet, I'm straight up and honest when I say that I haven't even come close to mastering my country's language. Getting a good grasp of their, there, and they're took some time. I still struggle with who and whom, I hate then and than, and I still can't get a clear answer on whether you use the apostrophe after a name that ends in "s," when you're showing ownership.
I'm curious what you guys think about that, now that I'm on the subject. I know when it's plural, you just put the apostrophe at the end and when it's singular you end it with an apostrophe then "s." So you'd get the boys' toys or the boy's toys. So what about my toys. My name is Chris. I remember being taught in school that it should be Chris's toys. Then I went to work for an online publisher and her way of doing it was Chris' toys.
I've looked it up online, I've looked it up in books, and when I worked for a short time as an English teacher (English as a second language), I asked the other teachers and looked it up in their book. I always got varying answers. At this point, I'm thinking you can do it however you want. There doesn't seem to be a correct and incorrect way.
So how did you learn to do it? I ask because I just went through the editorial process of my book, and I went back and forth about this. One character in the book goes by the name Goody Bones. So would it be Goody Bones's soldiers or Goody Bones' soldiers?
Anyway, back to the taxi photo above. I've seen some of the oddest misspellings around. I drove past a dry cleaner once and the sign at the front of the building read: Dry Cliners.
I chuckle whenever I see these mistakes because they always remind me of one of my closest buddies, a guy I've known since I was in the military. He's going to kill me for mentioning this, so I won't put his name on here. He was drunk one night while in training. He'd gotten a day pass with his friends and they each decided to get an arm tattoo with the name of their flight (group). They were known as the Horsemen. He was so proud when he got back to the barracks, until someone pointed out that the tattoo artist branded him with the word Horsmen. We jokingly called him Whores Man for awhile.
So...here's hoping that taxi driver didn't go one step further and tattoo the name Scare Face somewhere on his body.