Grammar Moment: Apostrophes. Not a Greek Philosopher


Apostrophes run amok!

I blame autocorrect, personally. How many times have you written were on your phone, only to have it autocorrect to we’re? How many times have you missed it?

Then there’s the random apostrophe in the email newsletter you receive, the church bulletin, the newspaper. It’s enough to make you question your own use of it.

So, what’s the rule?

Contractions: Yes to apostrophes

Contractions such as can’t, won’t, they’ve need apostrophes to indicate that two words have been combined and shortened.

Possessives: Yes to apostrophes

If you own it, it’s yours. If your sister owns it, it’s your sister’s. <— See what I did there? If you are trying to show that the subject, your sister, owns it, add the apostrophe (and ‘s’) to the end.

This one can get tricky because of words that end in ‘S,’ e.g., boss. There are two acceptable ways of doing this: “The football is my boss'” or “The football is my boss’s.” I know, that looks a little weird, but it’s ok.

Plural: NO to apostrophes

This is where I see the most misuse of apostrophes. For example, “The son’s and daughter’s of Michael are coming to the party.” Nope. It should read, “Michael’s sons and daughters are coming to the party.”

Where To Turn For Tips

I know, it can get confusing. Like almost everything in the English language, there are exceptions to the above. There times when I over think a grammar rule and have to look it up myself. Which leads me to share my favorite resource: Grammar Girl. Quick, concise, and helps me clear up any grammar confusion I may have. When in doubt, check her out. Your ultimate goal with writing is for people to read it. If you are misusing language their reading experience is interrupted, and may even turn off the people you are trying to reach. Grammar matters.

Need help?

Get in touch and I can proofread and suggest edits for you.