The repeating ‘s’ of the opening line deepen/deepens

HifaMo

Senior Member
Moroccan Arabic
Hi,

"The repeating ‘s’ of the opening line deepen the feelings of intimacy and romance."
Piano - D.H. Lawrence skoool.ie

I think it should be 'deepens.'
Correct me, please.

Thanks.
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Probably, what the author meant to say was "The repeating s’s of the opening line deepen the feelings..." but he didn't know how to punctuate s's. This is one of those very rare occasions when you use an apostrophe to indicate a plural.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    I agree with Keith - the writer was doing everything possible to avoid writing s's. Apparently even making deepen appear to be an error was preferable to s's.

    While s's is fine (weird-looking but fine)...wouldn't esses work, too? I have seen that used to mean "more than one s" but I'm not sure how common it is.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] ...wouldn't esses work, too? I have seen that used to mean "more than one s" but I'm not sure how common it is.
    I've also seen letters represented that way, Kate, but pretty rarely. Some notable examples are em dash and en dash, effing, 'he drops his aitches', teeshirt (originally T-shirt). And then there are instances where that form can't sensibly be used: you don't ever see Mind your pees and queues (or peas and cues?).:D

    If I read "the repeating esses of the opening line", I think I'd hesitate for an instant, wondering what esses are, before catching on. That's probably beause we don't usually see ess-bend, ess-curve, etc.

    Looking at the article in HifaMo's link, I see that in the preceding lines the author writes
    - "The repeating long ‘o’ sounds of the first two lines of the last stanza show ..."
    - "The repeated ‘i’ sounds in ‘smiles as she sings’ create ..."

    So I suspect that the error (possibly a typo) wasn't omitting the 's' of deepens, but omitting the word 'sounds'. Following the format of his previous sentences, the author probably intended to write:
    - "The repeating ‘s’ sounds of the opening line deepen ..."

    Ws:)
     
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