Discussion:
Making some apostrophe contractions but not others
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Pamela
2021-03-29 19:33:05 UTC
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Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.

Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?

(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.

(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.

(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.

etc
Stefan Ram
2021-03-29 19:51:39 UTC
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Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
A Nobel laureate in literature once wrote:

|Miss Delilah is his, a Phillistine is what she is

. But it is true that his texts are intended for oral performance.

|This Tara Missou is, is, is excellent!
from "Friends", Season 3 (S03E11?)

But this is from a dictionary, so intended for reading:

|the person or thing that is "in question" is the one that
|is being discussed

.
Ken Blake
2021-03-29 20:39:59 UTC
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Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
No problem for me.
Post by Pamela
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
etc
Any or all of them could be contracted. No problem with any of the
possibilities.

I'd probably write "It's what's missing that is most telling," but I
might have a different opinion tomorrow.
--
Ken
bozo de niro
2021-04-03 22:38:40 UTC
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Post by Ken Blake
Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
No problem for me.
Post by Pamela
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
etc
Any or all of them could be contracted. No problem with any of the
possibilities.
I'd probably write "It's what's missing that is most telling," but I
might have a different opinion tomorrow.
--
Ken
I agree, "It's what's missing that is most telling" — this is because I strongly believe in the syntax of "predictable" and recognizable speech patterns as one of the most reliable guides to intelligibility, and to me quick and easy intelligibility is more important than correct grammar and spelling.
Eric Walker
2021-03-30 01:05:58 UTC
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Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem is largely
visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not all
occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
etc
I find the original satisfactory; the others sound less formal and thus
less emphatic than the words of the sentence suggest it should be. But
differences of opinion are why they race horses.
--
Cordially,
Eric Walker
Peter T. Daniels
2021-03-30 13:35:42 UTC
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Post by Eric Walker
Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers
("maybe"?)
Post by Eric Walker
Post by Pamela
but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem is largely
visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not all
occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
etc
I find the original satisfactory; the others sound less formal and thus
less emphatic than the words of the sentence suggest it should be. But
differences of opinion are why they race horses.
--
Cordially,
Eric Walker
"less formal and thus less emphatic"??? Under what theory of logic or style?
occam
2021-03-30 14:48:19 UTC
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Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
No, not a good idea to contract it all the time.


Consider the non-explanation which goes: "It is what it is." (I've heard
it said by way of accepting something without much argument.)

"It's what it's" does not work, does it?
Stefan Ram
2021-03-30 15:34:30 UTC
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Post by occam
Consider the non-explanation which goes: "It is what it is." (I've heard
it said by way of accepting something without much argument.)
"It's what it's" does not work, does it?
That's because the "is" here plays a leading rôle.

(Moreover, it is a fixed phrase, and if a fixed phrase is
modified, even slightly, it might not be recognizable as
that fixed phrase anymore.)
Ross Clark
2021-03-30 20:08:21 UTC
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Post by occam
Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
No, not a good idea to contract it all the time.
Consider the non-explanation which goes: "It is what it is." (I've heard
it said by way of accepting something without much argument.)
"It's what it's" does not work, does it?
I think it would be all right, but it introduces a slightly different
construction. The first group has "X is missing", but yours implies
"It's missing [lacking] X", something one of the judges on the Great
British Bake-off might say after tasting. With that construction

(4) It's what it's missing that's most telling.

works fine.
Pamela
2021-03-31 19:37:10 UTC
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Post by Ross Clark
Post by occam
Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too
many occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The
problem is largely visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but
not all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done
at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
No, not a good idea to contract it all the time.
Consider the non-explanation which goes: "It is what it is."
(I've heard it said by way of accepting something without much
argument.)
"It's what it's" does not work, does it?
I think it would be all right, but it introduces a slightly
different construction. The first group has "X is missing", but
yours implies "It's missing [lacking] X", something one of the
judges on the Great British Bake-off might say after tasting. With
that construction
(4) It's what it's missing that's most telling.
works fine.
Thank you.

However the context is a set of records spanning 10 years. My
comment points out that activities which have not been done are more
important than those which have (and which are logged in the
records). If you see what I mean.

Your suggested phrase in (4) doesn't say that.
Stefan Ram
2021-03-31 22:22:38 UTC
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My comment points out that activities which have not been
done are more important than those which have (and which are
logged in the records).
Henry Hazlitt discusses how the window of a baker's shop is
destroyed by a young hoodlum, so the baker hires a glazier,
and the glazier now has more money, and so some say that the
destruction was good for the economy.

He criticizes how people only see what is there (the money
the glazier now has), but fail to see what is not there:
The baker planned to buy a new suit, but he cannot do so now,
because he had to give his money to the glazier.

|The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to
|the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten
|the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot
|him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They
|will see the new window in the next day or two. They will
|never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be
|made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.

Some of the thinking of Hazlitt goes back to a text called
"Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas" by Frédéric Bastiat
who wrote:

|Entre un mauvais et un bon Économiste, voici toute la différence :
|l’un s’en tient à l’effet visible ; l’autre tient compte et
|de l’effet qu’on voit et de ceux qu’il faut prévoir.

.
Pamela
2021-03-31 19:33:26 UTC
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Post by occam
Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
No, not a good idea to contract it all the time.
Consider the non-explanation which goes: "It is what it is." (I've
heard it said by way of accepting something without much
argument.)
"It's what it's" does not work, does it?
When I wrote "should all be contracted if it is done at all?" I did
not mean all the time. I meant in all three instances in my example.
Ross Clark
2021-03-30 20:02:51 UTC
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Post by Pamela
Maybe I am bonkers but I find the following sentence has too many
occurrences of "is" for the eye to read easily. The problem
is largely visual.
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(2) It is what's missing that's most telling.
(3) It's what is missing that is most telling.
etc
All OK as far as I'm concerned.
Stefan Ram
2021-04-02 02:47:48 UTC
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Post by Pamela
Would it be good form to use apostrophes to contract some but not
all occurrences? Or should all be contracted if it is done at all?
(1) It is what is missing that is most telling.
(Not directly related to the question,
just a general remark:)

We also must be careful not to take common English writing
as a phonetic transcription.

The written text "It is" might well be pronounced [ɪts],
and "what is" [wʌts] when read aloud!
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