Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Death of the Apostrophe

BooksForKidsBlog has a lengthy post up about how prolifically people -- even published authors with editors -- are misusing the apostrophe.

So, a short lesson:

The apostrophe only denotes contraction or possession. It can never be used to denote pluralization.

Correct: The Ewoks didn't have enough beer. [contraction]
Correct: John Wesley brought them a six-pack of Killian's Irish Red. [possession]
Incorrect: The Ewok's were pleased. [faulty pluralization]

I remember seeing a preschool advertising itself with an incorrect pluralization in its name. I knew immediately that I would never send any children of mine there during their formative years.

Although I hope that the Klingon-language tapes that we've been playing in utero will give our baby a sound foundation in conceptual grammar. I'm starting her on the Nerf Bat'leth at six months.

HT: Instapundit


Tom Jackson said...

There is also the plural possessive, which trips up many an author.

"The Ewoks' beer did not last long, so John Knox came by with a bottle of single-malt Scotch."

Jeff the Baptist said...

I used to have a really hard time differentiating "its" and "it's." Then I realized that "its" was used in the same context as "hers" or "his," neither of which have apostrophes.

Now I can use sentences like: "Leia didn't know whether the drunken Ewok was male or female, but if its hand crept any farther up her thigh, she was going to cut it off with Luke's lightsaber."

truevyne said...

Your daughter will surely need that Nerf Barf whateverism...

My daughter made her own bow and arrows yesterday complete with a quiver. She wore the bow across her chest like Legolas all day. Not bad for a fellow science fiction parent, huh?

Clix said...

This is possibly my biggest pet peeve EVER. I think it's most difficult with decades (1980s, not 1980's), probably because we see the apostrophe used to contract it ('80) and then go and misplace it. Grh!