Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/207

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Errors in English

consists. Overshoes, for instance, should be so styled, and not called either rubbers or gums.

rugged, hardy: Rugged in the sense of robust, as in health, is an undesirable Americanism for it means primarily "superficially rough, broken irregularly; as rugged cliffs." Hardy means inured as to toil, exposure, or want.


's: "The sign or suffix of the possessive or genitive case singular and of the same case plural when the noun ends in n; as, men's lives; children's books; shortened since the 17th century from Middle English -es. The apostrophe now replaces the e. Some words ending in a sibilant omit the s of the possessive to avoid the disagreeable repetition of a hissing sound. The rules formulated for this work are as follow: (1) Singular monosyllabic nouns ending in a sibilant sound (s, x, ce, se, or dental ge) add the apostrophe and s except when the following word begins with a sibilant sound; as, James's reign; Jones's hat; a fox' skin. (2) Singular dissyllabic nouns ending in a sibilant sound add the apostrophe and s, unless the sibilant is followed by another sibilant or the last syllable is unaccented; as, Porus' defeat; Moses' face; Jesus' disciples; Laplace's theory; Hortense's fate. (3) Singular polysyllabic nouns ending in a sibilant sound add the apostrophe and s only when a principal or