When writing numbers, particularly YEARS, this is how it goes:
~the 1980s (NO apostrophe. Common mistake = 1980's. Nope. Not good.)
~the '80s (Make sure that apostrophe is indeed an apostrophe and not a closing single quotation mark. Apostrophes are to be used any time you are abbreviating a number or even a word. In a contraction, the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters/numbers. Example: can't. The apostrophe stands in for the "n" and "o" in cannot. In the case of our example ("the '80s"), the apostrophe stands in for the "19" in the number. Capiche?)
~She is in her eighties. Or, She is 102.
~Street numbers (avenues, etc., inclusive) that are less than one hundred are spelled out: First Avenue, Ninety-fifth Street, but 120th Avenue.
When it comes to writing numerals in word format, there are going to be those folks who disagree with me, who follow AP and other styles. That's cool. I follow the Chicago Manual of Style like a slave, so don't crucify me if you like using numerals for everything over ten. I'm down with that. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent. That's most important. Oh, and the rules about the apostrophes and numbers still applies, no matter what. That's just basic grammar, babes.
While we're on the subject, I just had the conversation about comparative and superlative forms with still-at-home-under-the-weather MiddleBoy. I reminded him: fun, more fun, most fun (but funny, funnier, funniest). Make a note of it. (Apple ran an ad campaign here for the iPod. They used the word "funnest" in their posters. I almost cried, just because we don't need to perpetuate stupidity. It flourishes just fine on its own, thanks to the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, and Jersey Shore.)
OH, and just for the record: I got into a pissing match once (yes, a pissing match) on Facebook with a girl from high school about the comparative and superlative form for the word STUPID. (We didn't like each other in high school; we're not friends now. It was a pissing match hosted on someone else's wall. There is a reason why I've changed my name a few times...) STUPID can be either stupider/more stupid or stupidest/most stupid. They're both right. If you want proof, email me and I'll send you the relevant Chicago and Webster's passages.
Enough boring grammar. These things just come to me while I'm sitting at my desk, which is in the living room, while the kids' TV channel blares in the background (someone save me from the KidPop commercials...Justin Bieber is painful enough when he sings, let alone a bunch of tweens whose voices haven't cracked yet) or reading our small community newspaper or driving in the car and observing readerboards or thumbing through the magazines in my shink's waiting room. It sorta eats at me, the misuse of simple grammar. But I'm neurotic that way. I know I offend in my daily usage, but as punishment, I flog myself repeatedly with a mace, the spiked tips dipped in snake venom, just so I will be reminded to not re-offend during subsequent opportunities to communicate. Snake venom can really burn, especially when it's embedded in those fleshy holes left by the mace, but I'm growing more and more immune. It's a process.
In other news: I'm very excited. I get to review Blake Crouch's forthcoming RUN, which is described as such:
Picture this: A landscape of American genocide...
5 d a y s a g o
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.
4 d a y s a g o
The murders increased ten-fold…
3 d a y s a g o
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…
2 d a y s a g o
The killers began to mobilize…
Y e s t e r d a y
All the power went out…
T o n i g h t
They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.
Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque , New Mexico . People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that any more.
You only have time to….
R U N
Doesn't that sound SWEET??? You know it does. And you know you're going to want to buy it. If it sucks, I'll definitely let you know. But Crouch has some killer street cred, lots of titles, and some important friends, so I'm sure it's going to be a breakneck read. I can't wait! (Doesn't hurt that I like his name. One of my kids has that name. It's a good name.)
Speaking of kids: I am the ONLY PERSON I KNOW who has had a baby in all three western U.S. states plus British Columbia. Vancouver, Washington, 1990 (first year of college + baby = umm, trouble...); Portland, Oregon, 1993; Tarzana, California, 2001 (Amy Brenneman from Private Practice had her baby in the room next to mine, six or so months ahead of me--I know--I was there the night she delivered 'cuz I worked in labor and delivery for a brief time. Yay for Random Tidbits You Don't Care About!); and New Westminster, B.C., in full view of the now-defunct/destroyed Labatt's Brewery, in 2004. (Canada loves beer!) I should get a medal for being so damn procreative and for diversifying not only the gene pool but for screwing up the genealogical efforts of my great-great-grandchildren. Ha ha ha...they're going to pull their finely groomed hair out trying to retrace the convoluted path of where their great-great grandparents came from. *giggles behind cupped hand*
Dudes, YESTERDAY I had thirty "likes" on my new Facebook page for my book, Sleight! If you haven't liked me yet, you totally should. It legitimizes my existence in ways I never thought possible. Yeah, so, I'm a mom and wife and stuff, but seriously? THIRTY people like me! (Well, if you subtract my husband, my mom, my dad, my sister, my best friend, and my daughter, then there are really only twenty-four people who like me, but whatevs. I'm so excited!) I will have lots of info forthcoming about the BOOK, the WEB SITE, the RELEASE DATES and FORMATS. Yeah. It's allllll good. This is really a fun way to pull myself out of bed every morning.
It's Friday. I have to work this weekend on stuff other than words, which totally depresses me. Work sucks. Money should just come to be because I'm so dreadfully charming and adept with comma placement.
FUN TASK FOR THE DAY: Post your favorite (dirty) jokes in the comments section. I need a pick-me-up that doesn't involve a bottle opener or corkscrew.