Cecil Cited

Evan Morris, normally the all-knowing proprietor of The Word Detective column, decided in the current (Oct. 26, 2003) column to bow to his superior when it came to the origin of “pompatus”.


“Adam’s researcher” huh? Hi, Little Ed.

Little Evan needs a little editor. It should have been “Adams’ researcher”.

Actually, if you re-read the Pompatus of Love, you will see Adam’s researcher, in this case, was J.K.Fabian.

Who is this “Adam” they keep referring to? :frowning:

Sooorrrrryyy! You are right - I should have said Adams’.


Myself, I prefer Adams’s. In 7th-grade English I was violently forced to learn that you only ever use the s-apostrophe form for plural possessives, and never just for indicating possession by a single entity whose name happens to end in “s.” Thus, if I had said “Adam’s researcher” or “Adams’ researcher” instead of “Adams’s researcher” on a paper for that class, I would have been slain messily.

Later, I learned that 7th-grade English teachers will often make things seem much more absolute than they are in reality – many of the grammar guides I examined said that “Adams’ researcher” was fine. So alas, I’ve had to abandon my hard-line anti-s-apostrophe stance. But I still prefer to only see it used on plural possessives. It just feels more consistent.

“Adams’” vs. “Adams’s” is just one of those things that, in practice, are determined by house style guides. I agree that “Adams’s” is preferable.

Well, sorry Mr or Ms* J. K. Fabian. (J. K. isn’t sexed in the column.) I do always like to give credit where credit is due.

But I’ll bet Little Ed’s hands are all over this piece. :slight_smile:

  • Anyone want to start an argument over whether a period should be used after Ms? And if not, whether Mr. and Ms is a correct formation? :smiley:

J.K Fabian is Jane, and is definitely female. Jane was the very first board moderator Ed hired (drafted? tricked into slavery? :)) back on the AOL boards, and was our first board Goddess. I think that was in late ’96, but I could be mis-remembering.

TubaDiva was the next Goddess to join the ranks of the elevated (duped? suckered? severely taken advantage of? :)), and then the other mods and administrators, many of which came over here when the Reader pulled out of AOL and started this website.

I seem to remember that Jane modded here for a while, but most of her time seemed to be taken up assisting Unca Cec. At some point I believe her real life commitments caused her to pretty much withdraw from board life. I’m not sure to what extent she stills acts as an assistant for Cecil.

<< I believe her real life commitments caused her to pretty much withdraw from board life. I’m not sure to what extent she stills acts as an assistant for Cecil. >>

Not at all, anymore. Some of us are still in touch with her, because she’s a wonderful person with lots of talents.

Thanks, Dex, I kind of thought that was the case, but I wasn’t positive.

And if you happen to talk to her tell I said Hi and I hope things are going well for her. Maybe she’ll get back here and post now and again. :slight_smile:

Learn something new every day. I knew that Cecil used to have an assistant named Jane, and I knew that he had an assistant named J. K. Fabian, but I thought they were two separate people, and that Fabian was male. That’s the hazard of initials, I suppose.