's as the contraction of IS after proper names

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by southerner in the north, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone!

    Today a native American teacher has told me that "Ann's reading now" is incorrect because you can never contract "is" if it's used after a proper name because it will only mean possesion (genitive - so, in this case, it would mean something like "the reading of Ann", which does not make sense at all). This is the first time I hear something like this. Can native speakers confirm that this is true, please?

    Thanks a lot for your help!!
  2. miss sparkles

    miss sparkles Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    I´ve never heard of that before. I would definitely write Ann´s, and I think it´s correct grammatically.
  3. Thanks for your quick reply Miss Sparkles!!

    Being a native speaker I wonder why she thinks so then... I'm really really confused...

    Could somebody tell me why this native speaker is sure about this, if it is not correct? Or is it correct in certain parts of US?
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  4. donbill

    donbill Senior Member / Moderator

    South Carolina / USA
    English - American
    I agree with you miss sparkles.

    Ann's reading could mean "la lectura de Ana"; but with the adverb 'now', it seems much more likely to me to understand it as ''Ana está leyendo ahora".

    I won't be surprised, however, if a rules guru tells us that we're wrong!
  5. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I wouldn't usually dare to make a comment of this nature, but I really think that your teacher was talking a load of rubbish.
  6. donbill

    donbill Senior Member / Moderator

    South Carolina / USA
    English - American
    And here in these parts, we'd say a "load of garbage.:D"
  7. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I know. I was tempted to say "a load of B------s", which I suppose in your parts would be "a load of B------t"!:p
  8. pubman Senior Member

    I've had a quick scoot around tinternet and I can't find anything that suggests this is right or wrong. None of the zillion examples seem to cover this particular use.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  9. grahamcracker Senior Member

    I was taught in school not to use a contraction in written school work. In normal conversation, it is done all the time. Teachers are not as strict as they were when I was in school. It is not "wrong", but it used to be discouraged in some places. I would say that it should not be done on term papers or places where formal language is required. It is not wrong or incorrect.
  10. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I agree, Graham, there are times and places to use contractions. What I was objecting to was a particular "rule" about using the contraction of is after a proper name. I cannot believe that this exists.
  11. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    OK, when I do some editing, I don't allow in the same page a possessive and a contracted 'is' that look the same.
    It's bad style. It might be ok grammatically, but not together.
    Also if someone uses "he's gorgeous" they better not say in the same page "he's come to ..." (don't mix is and has)
  12. gengo

    gengo Senior Member

    As we say in Japanese (or rather, the English translation thereof), even monkeys fall from trees, and your teacher has had a great fall here. This is nonsense. We use contractions of "is" with proper names all the time. I could easily find you a hundred Google examples in a few minutes.

    That may be your personal style, but it is not an accepted style. It is perfectly common to mix contractions of is and has on the same page, or even in the same sentence. He's had some bad luck, but he's an adult, so he's got to take responsibility. There is no ambiguity whatsoever in those contractions, as they can have only one meaning. Such mixing can be found in the writing of even the best authors.
  13. grahamcracker Senior Member

    There is probably no hard and fast rule, just teachers' rules. I am not in school and I have no reason to avoid contractions. With email and texting, people don't even capitalize correctly anymore. So when I write, it is on the internet and I use apostrophes all the time.
  14. Mattterhorn

    Mattterhorn Senior Member

    Spain (Burgos)
    This means that this sentence is correct?: Krysten's average height with a slim build.

    To be honest, I wouldn't use 's with proper names, these contractions always look like the saxon genitive to me, I find it weird.
  15. Wandering JJ

    Wandering JJ Senior Member

    British English
    I would normally say 'Krysten's of average height and slim build', so the alternative interpretation (Krysten has) would not make sense here.
  16. gengo

    gengo Senior Member

    Perfectly correct. Of course, in this particular example, the reader has to read the whole sentence to understand that it is a contraction and not a possessive, and a careful writer might change the wording to ease the burden on the reader, but there is nothing grammatically wrong with this sentence, and the 's contraction is used all the time with names.

    John's a good friend of mine.
    Bill's coming to our house tonight.
    Leslie's really pretty.

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