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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes



 
ESL Forum | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #1 (permalink) Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:43 pm   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

'The New Yorker' magazine does this:

(I've bolded the entry below.)

Tina Fey, a more valued corporate citizen, pushed “30 Rock” ’s precision zinger machine nearly as far.

My question: If a title in quotes ends in an 's', would we punctuate it thusly? Please don't suggest to do it another way because I'm trying to figure it out based on the example from 'The New Yorker'. The quoted words below are a song title. I don't care how clunky or awkward it looks; I just want to know if it is in fact correct based on the example in 'The New Yorker'.

“Deep River Blues” ’s majestic quality and frequent airplay made it an overnight success.

Thank you.
Grumpy
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #2 (permalink) Tue Apr 09, 2013 17:46 pm   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello,

1. I, too, have long been interested in that punctuation question.

2. I have just two points to make:

a. The New Yorker is a very sophisticated magazine for well educated people. It definitely is NOT representative of how most American publications use English.

b. YES!YES! YES! It is only common sense to write it as: "Deep River Blues" 's majestic quality ....

i. BUT, I can GUARANTEE you that most American publications would NEVER do so. You have asked us not to suggest another way. So I shan't.
I will tell you, however, that my local newspaper, the Los Angeles Times (considered one of the 5 best American papers) would not punctuate it that way. I cannot tell you how it would punctuate it, for you have asked that we not suggest other ways. I will just say that it is really, really UGLY (in my opinion). BUT: maybe people would say that "Deep River Blues" 's is ugly.

I congratulate you on writing "Deep River Blues" 's. Here is the problem: maybe one of your teachers will say that it is "wrong." Then what do you do?

James
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #3 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:46 am   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

Tell her I'm right (LOL). Okay. How would you recast it?
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #4 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:24 am   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

I've always avoided possessives of quoted phrases, titles, etc, because even if I get it right, people will stop to try to figure out whether it was right, Even if you can iyalicize the title, there's a question of whether the 's should be italicized. Most of my writing, I want to be "invisible" so that readers aren't looking at the punctuation or spelling, or even the vocabulary I use, but rather at the ideas behind the words.

I'd recast that as "The majestic quality and frequent airplay of "Deep River Blues" made it an overnight success."

or better yet, "The majestic quality of "Deep River Blues" led to frequent airplay; the song was an overnight success."
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #5 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:23 am   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

Grumpy wrote:
Tell her I'm right (LOL). Okay. How would you recast it?

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello,

I would NOT recast it. I feel that you are correct.

But since you have given me permission to recast, I can tell you how my local newspaper (and probably others) would recast your New Yorker example:

"30 Rock's" precision zinger machine.

Of course, that is absurd. The idea of quotation marks is to enclose the EXACT name of the entity (film, TV show, etc.). And 's is not part of the title. But if my paper were to write it as "30 Rock" 's precision zinger machine, I guess some (a lot of) readers might protest about the "bad" English.

In my opinion only, maybe (maybe) my paper would do this to your example:

"Deep River Blues' " majestic quality ....

It would probably not write: "Deep River Blues's " majestic quality .... (I guess it would say that "blues" is plural and takes only one apostrophe). Of course, I agree with you that the only logical way is: "Deep River Blues" 's majestic quality ....

*****

Here is an example that I copied a few years ago:

To introduce "The Cloister Walk's" Kathleen Norris ....

Of course, you and I would have written it as:

To introduce "The Cloister Walk" 's Kathleen Norris ....

*****

Since you need to pass her class, you must, of course, follow whatever the teacher tells you and say, "Yes, ma'am, you are correct. You are always correct!"

James
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #6 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 13:18 pm   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

And, James, I believe that the following could be a viable option so that the punctuation doesn't look so drastic (i.e. the separation of the final 's' at the end). Do you concur that the sentence below does in fact look better than our originals? The reader will look at this version and not bat an eyelash. Our original versions may create that momentary pause for the reader in which he or she may think, Did he punctuate that sentence correctly? I think the sentence below looks really good. Do you agree?

To introduce “The Cloister Walk”’s Kathleen Norris ....
Grumpy
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #7 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 13:30 pm   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

I think that you have raised an interesting point.

James
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #8 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 16:43 pm   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

I would bat more than an eyelash. I think it looks awful.

But then, I would also choose to recast it. The only purpose served by 'double punctuation marks' is to confuse. Punctuation should be used to clarify.
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Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes #9 (permalink) Wed Apr 10, 2013 18:13 pm   Possessives of Song Titles in Quotes
 

My 2 cents... I think “30 Rock” ’s looks horrible, like the writer doesn't know how to handle the situation and is making an uncertain guess. “30 Rock”’s suffers from the problem of being hard to read. “30 Rock’s” is illogical. I can't think of any really satisfactory way to write this.
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