General Question

gailcalled's avatar

Has the time come for the "apostrophe" lecture?

Asked by gailcalled (52869 points ) August 2nd, 2008

It’s appropriate, given some recent questions. You’re tired of me preaching, you say? That’s a good point, but there are some tired eyes here.

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47 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Note that all my apostrophes disappeared in the tags; so, to repeat myself; it’s, who’s, they’re, Gail’s possessions.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oh Gail, sometimes I am just too lazy to correct my work before I submit. I know the rules, I think most of us do. Just allow me a little leeway okay? I often fluther late at night (1–2am); my mind isn’t always so sharp at those times.

stratman37's avatar

I’m sorry if I use too many, it’s just that starting a new sentence makes me have to think a little. I’m sure we TALK with too many apostrophes. I’m just trying to write conversationally.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Gail, I think a list of rules for the apostrophe as it is used in the words it’s and its, might be apropos here as well. Will you do the honors?

stratman37's avatar

Oh crap! I was thinking COMMAS – disregard…

lefteh's avatar

Whats wrong with Fluthers’ usage of apostrophe’s?

gailcalled's avatar

Again; it’s = it is.
who’s = who is.
they’re = they is are

@Lefteh; so young and such a wise guy.
@Tiny; it’s the slackers who annoy me and not the exhausted.

Some people throw that ’ around as tho it were pepper dropped from the grinder, helter-skelter.

lefteh's avatar

@Gail: I’m okay with that characterization.

whatthefluther's avatar

@gail…bless you for having the strength and conviction

AstroChuck's avatar

A’m’e’n’!

PupnTaco's avatar

My apostrophe pet peeves:

“I have 40 CD’s” should be “I have 40 CDs.”

“I was born in the 60’s” should be “I was born in the ‘60s.”

lefteh's avatar

While apostrophes are important, commas save lives.

“Let’s eat, Grandpa!”
“Let’s eat Grandpa!”

poofandmook's avatar

@PupnTaco: That is probably the worst grammatical pet peeve I have. I’m with gail on this one… yay apostrophes and their proper usage!

@lefteh: ROFL

My grammatical weakness is definitely (and obviously) the ellipsis. I can’t help it!

breedmitch's avatar

Maude, can I pepper ‘em in if I’m gonna try’n show my folksy side?

gailcalled's avatar

@H:Fur Shur. When’s the opening? What’s the name? M

breedmitch's avatar

Now mid September. (Don’t ask) Today it’s Brookvyn. cute?

augustlan's avatar

Possesives and plurals are NOT mix and match, people!

mirza's avatar

seriously ? you guys care way too much about grammar.
If my phone or my browser does not correct it, i don’t bother fixing it.

breedmitch's avatar

@mirza: Someone on TV the other day lamented that the internet has reduced us to a “first draft” society. You should rely on technology, but still proofread. You’re too smart and good not to. Your university will expect better.

tinyfaery's avatar

Here’s an nice little cheat sheet.

To reiterate, I know the rules, but that doesn’t mean I’ll always follow them. I’m a rebel like that.

SuperMouse's avatar

@PandM, the ellipsis is a wonderful thing that cannot be over used…

I love the ellipsis almost as much as I love the fact that when “its” is used to show possession it does not have the apostrophe.

lefteh's avatar

@supernutjob: I cannot resist pointing out that because your ellipsis was at the end of a sentence, there should have been four dots….

SuperMouse's avatar

@Lefteh, I had never heard that rule! Thanks, I am huge, huge fan of the ellipsis and I owe it to this remarkable punctuation mark to always use it correctly.

gailcalled's avatar

@Lefteh…Can one use the ellipsis at the beginning of a sentence? And I, too, am a member of its booster club.

It is true that some of the rules of prose are out-of-date; viz; never split an infinitive. But the rest are there for clarity and comprehension. Sometimes I haven’t a clue what a querent means because of laziness, rebelliousness or ignorance (choose one.) Clear written English is a lot more complicated than correct grammar.

I have people here enraged at me – publicly and privately – but never because they don’t understand what I am saying or asking. It is hard enough to get the ideas clearly from the brain to paper, but if you muck up your mother tongue, you’re toast.

marinelife's avatar

Me, I am addicted to the em dash.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Gail, the apostrophe lecture, the comma lecture, the period lecture, and the paragraph lecture are all welcome anytime and all the time as far as I’m concerned.

gailcalled's avatar

@La chica; thanks but you may find yourself in a lonely minority (along with me and several others, who are the keepers of a flame that may be extinguished soon.)

PupnTaco's avatar

@Gail:

soon).

oh ho!

gailcalled's avatar

Right. Parens. enclose entire sentence and end punctuation. Got me!

Knotmyday's avatar

I’m a Panda. Look it up! My favorite. Also: “Young man, where is your grammar?” “In the kitchen, makin’ cookies!” note idiomatic usage :^)

gailcalled's avatar

@Knot; why aren’t you on your hands and knees with sponges, mops and buckets?

Knotmyday's avatar

It’s a seep, non-diluvian. Besides, today is the goy day of rest…
Oh, Ha-Olam Ha-Lo Yehudi, the joy.

whatthefluther's avatar

(you may get argument from 7th Day Ad’s) (wondering if the use of apostrophe is proper for this abbreviation…just trying to keep thread on track)

Knotmyday's avatar

That’s <—- true, whatthe. Point taken.

lefteh's avatar

@whatthefluther: Nope. 7th Day Ads.

I can’t think of an example for an apostrophe being used for a plural.

whatthefluther's avatar

@lefteh…thanks…I assume it’s a nonsecular rule

gailcalled's avatar

Seventh Day Adventists’ lease will expire soon at their church.

lefteh's avatar

I meant I could not think of a case in which the apostrophe declares the plural. In that case, the s obviously declares the plural. I should have been more clear.

brownlemur's avatar

Gail, you know I always welcome grammatical advice. As such, here is some. You wrote: “It’s appropriate, given some recent questions. You’re tired of me preaching, you say? That’s a good point, but there are some tired eyes here.”

I would have said You’re tired of my preaching, not You’re tired of me preaching.

(Gerund form of the verb and such….)

gailcalled's avatar

@Brown;Ya got me. From http://www.cliffsnotes.com

“Possessive Pronouns with Gerunds

Use a possessive pronoun with a gerund, the verb form that functions as a noun. This rule is broken frequently, with many writers using the objective rather than the possessive case.
I didn’t like his going ( NOT him going) to New York without me.
Their smiling ( NOT Them smiling) irritated her.
Please forgive our intruding. ( NOT us intruding)”

whatthefluther's avatar

@Gail…When used in abbreviation such as (not certain of proper placement in second and third, below):
fallin’ in love
Rock ‘N Roll
Lil’ Abner
is it still called an apostrophe and is there a rule for this utilization? Or, are we looking at improper usage by overly terse writers? Thank you very much.

gailcalled's avatar

WTF: I don’t know. I would guess that if you drop a final “g,” than fallin’ would be correct.

And Li’l Abner© is officially written thus – the ’ replaces the missing letters, sort of.

Rock ‘n Roll or (as Wikipedia says) Rock ‘n’ Roll;I don’t know what an editor would do with that. You expect too much of me….have pity.

The usual example; it’s = it + missing i + s

lefteh's avatar

@whatthefluter: Yes, it is still called an apostrophe. One of the duties of an apostrophe is to indicate omissions.

whatthefluther's avatar

@lefteh…Thanks. Contractions are fairly straightforward but it appears some liberty is taken with other words that employ the apostrophe for omitted letters.

Knotmyday's avatar

’’’’ with that.

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