So I was listening to a Grammar Girl podcast today at lunch time while I was running errands (yes, it’s true–I’m a nerd), and the session was about contractions. It was pretty much common sense but she did say one thing that really stopped me in my tracks: she was giving examples of what a contraction is and used a common one: o’clock. Dude, if I knew that o’clock was short for “of the clock,” I don’t remember it. What worried me more than not knowing/remembering this was that I hadn’t thought to ASK what does this mean? How many things are there out there that I see, accept, and don’t think about? So much to know!
So I asked a girlfriend of mine after lunch if she knew what o’clock means–and she does. She’s got a PhD in British Lit and has taught composition classes for years so maybe I asked the wrong person. But she said she was always wondering what AD and BC mean. Same kind of thing. We just accept stuff like that with little thought. (if you want to know–Wikipedia does a good job of explaining).
For more grammar help, see the Sentence Sleuth, a blog about grammar by Bonnie Trenga.