Punctuation 101: The Apostrophe

Apostrophe misuse is my biggest pet peeve, and yes, I am a nerd. I cringe every time I see signs or other printed material wherein an apostrophe is incorrectly used to make a word plural. I have taken it upon myself to notify, inform, teach, and correct (thanks to my handy dandy Sharpie pen I always carry) those who can’t seem to get it into their thick skulls that AN APOSTROPHE IS NOT USED TO MAKE A WORD PLURAL.

I am amazed and mortified how many people don’t have a basic grasp of grammar. It’s not that difficult. If you have one dog, and then add another, you have two dogs. Not dog’s. If Johnny has five apples and Susie has six apples, then how many apples do they have together? Eleven apples. Not apple’s. I am a die hard Vegas Golden Knights fan. Not Knight’s.

Simple, right? One would think so, but no.

Instead I am inundated on a daily basis with glaring apostrophe errors everywhere. Buy two bone’s and get one free. Granny Smith apple’s are on sale for $.99/pound. Buy two pound’s of broccoli and get one free.

It’s aggravating.

Apostrophes are used to denote possession as in the baby’s blanket, the dog’s collar, my neighbor’s noisy car, and my boyfriend’s sexy butt. These are examples of singular possession. One subject and something belonging to that subject.

There is also plural possession as in the cats’ litter box, my daughters’ bedroom, and my grandparents’ dentures. In these cases, the subject word is first pluralized (with an s and no apostrophe), and then the apostrophe comes at the end to denote possession.

In some cases, yes, the apostrophe does make a plural. These limited cases deal with numbers and letters. How many number 8’s do you have. Sally received three A’s and three B’s on her report card.

It really isn’t that difficult. Really.