Friday, November 18, 2005

NPR's grammar hangup


Over at NPR they do fine work, except they have this little hangup about plurals and plural possessives.

NPR's ombudsman got his neurons wrapped the wrong way around this when, in responding to a reader, he suggested Roberts (as in Chief Justice John Roberts' nomination) was a plural (and thus a plural possessive) and was deftly taken down in Headsuptheblog.

Now, in browsing NPR's Web site today, I see a more straightforward problem in this photo caption.

The family name is Warren. If you are talking about more than one -- as in there are more than one who own that basement -- it's Warrens. Thus, the plural possessive is correct here: Investigators found thousands of forged documents in the Warrens' basement.

Next time my local public radio station's seeking a handout, I may send a grammar book and ask the kind folks to pass it on to Washington.

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