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S or no S? Grammar debate is no joke in Arkansas
By JILL ZEMAN
Monday, March 12, 2007 5:45 PM CDT
LITTLE ROCK - The question over how to write the possessive form of "Arkansas" has spilled out of the state Capitol, igniting debates statewide on whether an apostrophe-s, or just an apostrophe, is required to be grammatically correct.
College and high school English instructors have reached no consensus as a state legislator seeks support for apostrophe-s.The Associated Press Stylebook says singular proper nouns ending in "s" use just an apostrophe when possessive. But other guides, like Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" opt for "'s."
The dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, which hosted an apostrophe-s debate Monday, likes the extra character, and the governor, attorney general and secretary of state vote for apostrophe-s.
A self-described "militant grammarian" at the University of Arkansas says the extra letter looks silly.
Arkansas' possessive _ or, if you prefer, Arkansas's possessive _ hinges on the state name's final, silent "s," historian Parker Westbrook argued Monday at a forum at the Clinton School campus in downtown Little Rock.
For the record, SPOGG is with the "militant grammarian." In fact, we're going to send him a recruitment