If you caught the mistake up there in the title of the post, all I can say is, “Look at you all smart and grammarous!”
No doubt you’ve seen or heard this kind of error before. And you’re probably thinking that it is the contraction “there’s” that throws people off. No one would say, “There is mistakes,” right? Maybe, but I suspect there’s more to it than that.
What is missing in the title? It’s the word “are.” In its place is an apostrophe and the letter “s.” You’ve probably noticed a lot of “are’s” are missing lately. More and more people on TV, in the classroom, and on the internet are using a plural noun with “there’s.” Why?
Where are all those “are’s” we used to have?
Oddly, or suspiciously, or perhaps nefariously, the Japanese also use the word “are” when they write in Roman characters (romaji). It means “that over there.” I don’t have any hard proof yet, but my best sources have led me to believe that not only are Americans smuggling our “are’s” into Japan but the Japanese mafia (yakuza) has bots combing the internet to capture “are’s” that are the replaced with that increasingly familiar apostrophe followed by the lonely “s.” These captive words are taken to underground factories where Japanese engineers genetically alter the letters, cruelly bending them into shapes that looks like this: あれ. Using an electrical current, they modify the pronunciation until the only sound the word can make is ah-reh. These former verbs are sold on the black market for mere pennies (or mere yen) to be used as demonstratives! You heard me right. That powerful friend of pronouns, that magician of linking, that word that keeps people dancing right now, that verb is now at the beck and call of every pointing finger of every tour guide on every bus in Japan!
I know this is the kind of shocking exposé you’d expect from The New York Times, not a family friendly blog like this. But I felt that someone needed to bring it to the world’s attention.
What can you do? Write your U.S. representative or contact the nearest Japanese Embassy. Let them know we won’t stand for that. Remember, our are’s are ours.