Monthly Archives: June 2011

Apostrophes Need Not Apply

Ok.  I’m crying “uncle” here.  Enough with the misuse of apostrophes already!  C’mon.  It’s really not that hard.

There are two basic rules for apostrophe use:

  1. In contractions (don’t, won’t, can’t)
  2. To show possession (Mike’s, Sally’s, John’s), with one exception.  “It’s” is the contraction for “it has” or “it is”.  No apostrophe is used to show possession with “it”.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I can’t understand how so many people are getting this wrong lately.  I see otherwise seemingly intelligent people writing sentences like:

                “There were three horse’s in the stable.”

My brain abruptly stops reading.  It’s a shame too because it’s been on a lovely pace where the words have been flowing through my mind like a gentle breeze, and just-like-that, I’m snapped back into reality.

Then, as if I’m not upset enough to have been rudely interrupted, my mind is left to wondering what did three horses leave in the stable and why did they leave it there? What is going on here?  It makes no sense!

Now, I’m forced to re-read the sentence only to realize that the author intended to convey that there were three horses inside the stable.  They didn’t necessarily keep anything there. 

Why?  How is this so difficult to get right?  I don’t understand.  Even the flimsiest of the free spell/grammar-checking programs I could find, flagged this as being incorrect.

Don’t even get me started on the apostrophes used in conjunction with acronyms.  There were two VP’s in the room.  Again?  Why are things being left places? Now, if you meant there were two VPs inside the room you should have said that.

I am not a fanatic.  I know that I am of average intelligence and that my grammar isn’t perfect.  However, if we begin to let this simple rule slide then what’s next?  Allowing the interchangeable use of to, two, and too or there, they’re, and their?

I can’t wait for the day when I come across a sentence like He explained that the car left behind was they’re’s.  You’ll know when I do, because the tagline for the news story will be:

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