I am what some people would perhaps call a grammar Nazi, an officer of the grammar police, an arse. I would disagree; I am simply someone who knows how to wield an apostrophe correctly and thinks that it’s a pretty simple thing for others to get right as well. OK, I am possibly an arse.
It’s really not that hard. JUST LEARN THE RULES!!!!
Why go through your entire life adding apostrophes to plurals and failing to show possession when you could just spend 10 minutes learning how to do it properly; a gift you can take through the rest of your life, punctuating with perfection!
If you don’t know how to do it, the following 10 minutes could be the best you’ve ever spent.
An apostrophe can be used for 2 reasons:
- Possession – to indicate that something belongs to someone or something
- Contraction – to replace a missing letter or letters
It is NEVER used to make something plural.
Possession: John’s car / the cat’s whiskers / the grammar Nazi’s wrath. If something belongs to a group of people or something plural, the apostrophe goes after the group it belongs to ie the girls’ changing room (the changing room belonging to the girls).
Contraction: they’re (they are – missing a) / you’re (you are – missing a) / didn’t (did not – missing o).
Plural: MOTs / tomatoes / the 1980s
There you go. See, it wasn’t that hard was it (she said sanctimoniously). You can go forth and apostrophise with abandon and be marvelled at by those less apostrophically able.
It’s also great for giving you a feeling of superiority. You can demonstrate your appall at the way most cafés seem to sprinkle apostrophes on their menus like pepper and refuse to purchase their “pannini’s” on punctuation principle (a like-minded friend and I regularly go into a local café for an Apostrophe Scoffy Coffee, revelling in our own smart-arsed-ness). You can join SPAG groups on Facebook and collectively roll your eyes at the memes and statuses of people you don’t know and you can even “help” your friends by correcting their texts, tweets and status updates, concerning yourself only with the accuracy of their writing and paying no attention to the content.
Of course, you’ll no longer be invited to parties but you won’t mind because they would have only spelled it party’s anyway.
Next: “could have” v “could of” and “been” v “being”…