Writing Pet Peeves #6: Apostrophes

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Every once in a long while I’ll have to think for an extra second about using an apostrophe correctly. It’s usually when I’ve already written the rest of the sentence so poorly that I almost confuse myself. But again, this is a rare thing.

I remember in kindergarten and first grade being taught how to read. And I remember in second grade being taught how to write cursive and book reports. Somewhere along the line the rules of apostrophes were drilled into my brain. And I’ve never had any issue with them since. Too bad everyone can’t have my experience.

Here are some of the things I see all the time.

Decades written like “1940’s”.

Days of the week written like “Sunday’s”.

Plurals written like “phone’s”.

And so many more. And it’s frustrating. Maybe the education system is to be blamed. Maybe these people didn’t pay attention in English class. Maybe English is the universal second language of the world and no one knows the rules for using apostrophes. Or maybe I’m just going to have to bang my head on my desk for the rest of my life because so many people use apostrophes incorrectly.


On this day in 2014 I published Never Ask a Reader About Their Favorite Book.

 

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35 thoughts on “Writing Pet Peeves #6: Apostrophes

  1. You had best get to banging your head on that desk, John. Sometime’s (hehe) it’s just a typo when peep’s (<—) be typing two (oop's! ha!) fast. Sorry. I couldn't resist. πŸ™‚ Have a great day!

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  2. Signs at my gym, leading from the pool to the locker rooms: “Men’s,” “Boy’s,” “Women’s,” “Girl’s,” “Family.” Sigh.

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  3. Muttering a brief profanity (my preferred response) would save you from a lot of bruising.

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  4. Reblogged this on C. T. Suddeth and commented:
    Not high on my list of writing problems, but fun post.

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  5. I’m glad you brought this up. When I type 1920s or the plural form of a surname (the Browns, for example), the grammar check often tells me I need an apostrophe. Thank you for confirming that I was right.

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    • Something similar happens to me sometimes, i.e. Word telling me I need to put an apostrophe in its when I know full well I don’t. It’s odd.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think John must be write, because I automatically put it as 1940’s instead of 1940s because my Word program corrects me. See, you have all these programers who don’t know their grammar so they are screwing it up for the rest of us who might have forgotten some of our elementary schooling. So now we end up writing just as badly as they do. (don’t even get me started on the youts coming up in their teenage years. They don’t know how to spell worth a darn… and they will be the programers. {I purposely spelled youths as youts})

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Here’s a pet peeve of mine. Practically every day I hear someone (including news commentators, etc. on TV) say something like “I’m going to lay down.” The rules of how and when to use “lie” and “lay” are all but forgotten. it’s so frustrating. I feel like lying my pen down and laying on the couch (grin).

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    • Exactly right. BUT I’m not going to say what I think about those words misused because you know that’s on my list of posts for this series.

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      • Since you’re writing about misused words, I thought you’d get a kick out of some of the phrases I’ve hear in my area. When my husband retired, we moved to a rural setting where the English language is turned upside down. “Done” is a helping verb. (Example: “I done did all my shopping.) Many people who live here reverse present and past tense. (Examples: “The mail hasn’t came today.” And “I seen it.” Or “I done seen it.” One my favorites is a unique tense of the verb “took.” I heard a man say that he “tooken” something.

        The danger of living in a place like this is that after awhile you start to pick up some wild expressions and/or bad grammar.. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself saying things like, “I might could” or ” I might could of.”

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      • Hahaha sounds like regular Texas to me.

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      • Oh my! They talk like that in Texas too? Actually, this is a place that time forgot in VA.

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      • Texas basically has its own language.

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  7. Well said! Another misuse that drives me nuts is: “I hope your having a nice day.” Arrggh!

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  8. Haha. Maybe no one does pay attention in English?! As for the words, they’re, there and their all sound the same but people nowadays don’t know how to use them properly! That frustrates me.

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  9. Getting into the meme generators, huh?

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  10. The widespread misuse gets on my nerves too, especially on shop signs etc. And it’s really not that hard to understand how to use apostrophes, but the way some people talk you’d think it was akin to quantum mechanics or something. It’s really not that hard.

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  11. Hehe! Yes, another good pet peeve. What really bothers me about this is that, even if you correct or inform other people, they still just don’t care enough to find the right usage of the apostrophe. Or another other grammar/spelling/punctuation issue. That’s what gets me the most. Ignorant laziness. They don’t care to inform or better themselves over something so simple. And I have to wonder, if they won’t do it for simple ideas, would they do it for grand or difficult ones? Food for thought.

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