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The Apostrophe, or Lack Thereof

Some of us have recently weighed in on grammatical changes that have us thinking about the English language and its many quirks (I think about this often while watching my two-year-old identical twins learn new words and meanings, and explaining to my older girls the different meanings of words like trip or lie).

I found this piece on the disappearing apostrophe kind of fun and a bit confusing from a practical perspective. What I get out of it is you can basically pick and choose when to use an apostrophe depending on context and syntax. That’s a stretch, but not a far one. The rules have changed over time, and if you comply with the most current, you’ll wind up with a lot of words that are misleading, or even wrong if you follow them. Like her example of using the word “dos” to refer to something to do versus what it implies or can be construed as, the old software operating system. There is even a silly blog that attempts to abolish the apostrophe completely which I’d disagree with because reading anything without apostrophes (or apostrophe’s!) is a really annoying exercise.

Those of you who indulge in lengthy discussions about grammar will remember the bestseller EATS, SHOOTS, AND LEAVES from 2005. I found an excerpt from the book, which is funny and charming, as well as educational.

There are examples of the misuse of the apostrophe everywhere we look, or maybe they’re just new, trendy ways of using an old grammatical tool. What’s your favorite use, or misuse, of the apostrophe?

3 Responses to The Apostrophe, or Lack Thereof

  1. The one that makes me cringe is the use of an apostrophe in a word that is possessive without one. Her’s, our’s, your’s. And I see it every day.

  2. The use of “it’s” instead of “its” drives me bonkers, along with any form of apostrophe-for-plural (the “book’s” example in EATS, SHOOTS, AND LEAVES makes me twitch).

    But if I’m using an acronym that ends in S and it needs to be pluralized, I just have to put an apostrophe between the S’s. I guess if your apostrophe-killer has his/her way, the correct form would be “Ss”…?

  3. ChemicalLove says:

    great stuff but you missed a couple (minor) spellin mistakes near the end lol and my comment from earlier hasn’t shown but hey…..

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