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Can We Stop the Apostrophe Madness?

copyright Monte Mendoza | flickr

copyright Monte Mendoza | flickr

I’m about to lose my mind. Seriously.

I’ve talked about this on my blog before, but I just can’t let this go. Nope. I just can’t.

It probably comes from being a writer, but all this Apostrophe madness is making me Nuts. Yes. With a capital ‘N’.

What is Apostrophe Madness, you say? Well, it’s this:

  • It’s isn’t Its, and Its isn’t It’s. It’s with an apostrophe is a contraction and is the short form for it is or it has. Its without an apostrophe is the possessive pronoun of it. Examples:
    • It’s
      • It’s raining outside. (Because you can say It is raining outside.)
      • I think it’s a terrible idea. (Because you can say I think it is a terrible idea.)
      • Oh man, it’s been a long day. (Because you can say Oh man, it has been a long day.)
    • Its
      • The cat ate its food. (Because you can’t say The cat ate it is food.)
      • The tree loses its leaves in the Fall. (Because you can’t say The tree loses it is leaves in the Fall.)
  • If you are talking about plurals (nouns that are more than one), no apostrophe is needed. Examples:

    • Grills for sale. (NOT Grill’s for sale).
    • I brought candles to the party. (NOT I brought candle’s to the party.)
    • Temperature highs for today will be cooler than normal. (NOT Temperature high’s for today will be cooler than normal.)
  • Acronyms don’t use an apostrophe either, with one exception. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, “If you can stop thinking of the spelled-out meaning of the acronym and just treat the acronym itself as a word with its own meaning, you should be able to add that little s without fretting.” So read this carefully:
    • IOUs (not IOU’s)
    • MDs (not MD’s)
    • RFPs (not RFP’s)
  • The exception? If you have an acronym with periods, you’d use the apostrophe. In these cases having no apostrophe would look confusing because a period is normally viewed as the end of a sentence:
    • P.A.’s (not C.P.A.s)
    • M.D.’s (not M.D.s)
    • C.C.J.’s (not C.C.J.s)
  • First names that are plural don’t use an apostrophe. EVER. EVER. EVER. Names signify a noun, and pluralized nouns don’t use an apostrophe. Period. (I threw in a funny there. Did you catch it?). If your first name ends in “s, x, z, ch, sh”, you add an “es”. Examples:
    • How many Annas are in your class? (NOT How many Anna’s are in your class?)
    • There are a lot of Mikes in the world. (NOT There are a lot of Mike’s in the world.)
    • I know three Riches at work. (NOT I know three Rich’s at work.)
  • Last names that are plural don’t use an apostrophe. EVER. EVER. EVER. And if your last name ends in “s, x, z, ch, sh”, you add an “es”. Examples:
    • Merry Christmas from the Millers. (NOT Merry Christmas from the Miller’s.)
    • Happy New Year from the Joneses. (NOT Happy New Year from the Jones’s.)
    • The Kennedys are hosting a party! (NOT The Kennedy’s are hosting a party!)
  • Brand names don’t use an apostrophe if you’re talking about more than one. Examples:
    • The plural of the Blackberry phone, for example, would be Blackberrys and NOT Blackberry’s.
    • Likewise, you’d say, “I have two iPads” and NOT “I have two iPad’s”.
    • And Victoria’s Secret really had a winner with Body, which would pluralize like this: Victoria’s Secret was showing off its Bodys (NOT Body’s).
    • (And we won’t get into certain company trademarks here, a la Apple, which specify how the public is supposed to really pluralize their product – because people just don’t speak that way.)🙂
  • Numbers are simple: you never add an apostrophe to make them plural. So:
    • He was born in the 1980s. (NOT He was born in the 1980’s).
    • Clients in their 60s will benefit most from this program. (NOT Clients in their 60’s will benefit most from this program.)
    • That airline is going to build more 747s. (NOT That airline is going to build more 747’s.)

There. I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.


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Filed under: Stories Behind The Stories Tagged: apostrophe abuse, English, grammar errors, grammar mistakes, punctuation, when to use an apostrophe, writing


This post first appeared on Terri Herman-Ponce | Twists, Turns, Past Lives And, please read the originial post: here

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Can We Stop the Apostrophe Madness?

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