I'm willing to admit I may be incorrect. It's been over 20 years since I last taught English 100 or substituted in a local high school, junior high school, or middle school English/language arts class.
But your recent lead story title "Water's for Fighting" (Sept. 19) left me befuddled. I further admit that due to a time crunch, I have not yet read the article. I can't figure out if Mr. Scott-Goforth's title meant "water is for fighting," or was he somehow indicating that fighting belongs to water, or water belongs to fighting? I'm sorry, but unless something has changed, that looks wrong to my eye (and yes, my style manuals are from the era during which I was teaching, and my Strunk and White is not at hand, so if there has been an update in the arena of apostrophe usage, I missed it).
I did not feel compelled to comment until reading the current Media Maven (Sept. 26), and seeing the same phenomenon. Ms. Pike claims her "background's in print journalism." She later goes on to say "Eureka's TV audience" in one paragraph, indicating the viewing audience belonging to or residing in Eureka. In the next paragraph she says "Eureka's not even..." to mean "Eureka is not even..." She wants to have her grammatical cake and eat it, too.
Why not just say "is" where appropriate? What is so terrible, so difficult, so painful about using the full two-letter word? I realize this use of the apostrophe is an attempt to have the written word mimic the manner in which we speak. It's folksy. Let's drop the 'g' in a few words, too, since that's what it sounds like when we talk.
As a matter of fact, maybe we should write the entire edition in text lingo. Think of all the paper we would save if we would stop spelling out all these pesky words.
Barbara A. Boerger, Eureka