karelia (karelia) wrote in beta101,
karelia
karelia
beta101

Apostrophes and when to use them

Apostrophes are highly overused and often incorrectly so.

Really, there are three main reasons why an apostrophe is used:

1. to form the possessive of a noun
2. to show the omission of letters
3. to indicate certain plurals of letters, mainly done for clarification purposes


Examples:

1. The father of the child will become: The child's father -> possessive singular
The combined stupidity of two nations: The two nations' combined stupidity -> possessive plural (note that the s comes BEFORE the apostrophe)

2. It is cold becomes: It's cold (note that it's and its are two entirely different words)
They are rather crazy: They're rather crazy
Do not mock me for my grammar obsession: Don't mock me for my grammar obsession.
Who is responsible: Who's responsible (note that who's and whose have two very different meanings)
I could have screamed: I could've screamed (Please don't get into the habit of replacing the 've with 'of,' that is very, very wrong!)

3. Mind your p's and q's is a fairly common term, possibly stemming from the days when manners were still taught to smaller children, and the mothers would simply shorten the phrase "Mind your pleases and thank yous."


More on this on the internet About Grammar and a lot more detail here
Tags: apostrophe, grammar
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Bravo!

May I suggest another horrible example that drives me crazy, and which I see several times a week?

Incorrect use of an apostrophe in a plural, usually on a house or mailbox to signify that a family lives here: The Smith's or (one of my favorites) The O'Casey's.

But sometimes inflicted on a simple noun as well (shows up on FanFiction.net with dreary regularity): The bottle's stood all in a row.

Makes me go all Daffy Duckish with frustration.

Because it's not that hard to grasp, and because anyone who writes should respect the tools of the craft enough to learn to use them correctly.