Ranty Tuesday: Apostrophes

I don’t get how people don’t get apostrophes.

It’s really quite simple.

Just because a word ends in an s doesn’t mean you put an apostrophe in front of the s.

An electronic sign on a local church made me want to phone and say, “It’s not how the church can help me but how I can help the church.” Apostrophes, people!

There’s only two rules:

  1. To show ownership.
    • Lucinda has a blog. = Lucinda’s blog
    • Jennifer has a book = Jennifer’s books
    • Mummy has a little helper = Mummy’s little helper
  2. To show a letter has, or letters have, been dropped.
    • I have had enough = I’ve had enough.
    • We will persevere = We’ll persevere.

But I just don’t get the mental block that some people have with apostrophes. It’s like they are trying to remember how to add or multiply fractions or do simultaneous equations. Apostrophes are not that hard. There’s only two rules. Learn them people!

There are many times I don’t care if people make mistakes. In texting. In writing me a missive (I am not one who corrects letters, no one likes that. I am thankful for a card or letter or email. And I know when typing quickly, we can all make mistakes.) When used by people who have learnt English as a second language relatively recently or without any classes.

But for a church sign on a busy road! If you can’t learn the two rules, how can I trust you to save my soul?

12 thoughts on “Ranty Tuesday: Apostrophes

  1. I share your dislike of misplaced apostrophes…..however and don’t ask me why…….I also cringe at Chris’s rather than Chris’ or James’s rather than James’…….I was taught both are correct usage yet one just doesn’t look right.

  2. Or when they don’t use the apostrophe – your instead of you’re… I try so hard not to be the grammar police, but like you, if it’s an institution or a formal document, I expect that they might have done a grammar check..

  3. I remember going into a primary classroom where the teacher had written class rules on a large sheet of paper. Sighed (in agony) when I read, “Donot push other children.” This line was followed by similar (don’t) rules—all with the same mistake. It wasn’t as if she needed to squish her words together due to lack of space…she had plenty of room to write the lines.

    • Poor teacher. I will give her the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes you have mental blanks when your brain is focused on other things. And a primary teacher’s brain must be taking in so many different pieces of info and processing so much about the students – their behaviour, emotional well-being, what they are calling out, their interactions, looking for possible issues, when to intervene. And thinking of curriculum. I can forgive the mistakes in writing. Brain just wouldn’t have space to be in control of the hand every time.

  4. I cringe at this but try not to be overbearing unless, like Jo says, it’s an institution or a formal document. Everyone in my workplace is over the top with grammar and punctuation, to the extent that written communication is significantly delayed so the documents can be made perfect!

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