Friday, November 24, 2006

Apostrophe Abuse












CD's or LP's from the 1980's? No, CDs or LPs from the 1980s. Pizza at it's best? No, pizza at its best.

What's with the growing misuse of that puny piece of punctuation, the apostrophe? The
Apostrophe Protection Society was established in 2001 in the UK, with the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English language.

The rules concerning the use of the apostrophe in written English are very simple:

1. It is used to denote a missing letter or letters, for example:
I can't, instead of I cannot.

2. It is used to denote possession, for example:
The dog's bone. But the exception is that that the possessive form of it does not take an apostrophe any more than ours, yours or hers do, e.g. "The bone is in ITS mouth."

3. Apostrophes are NEVER, ever used to denote plurals! Common examples of such abuse (all seen in real life!) are:

"Banana's for sale," should be "Bananas for sale."
"Menu's printed to order," should read "Menus printed to order."
"1000's of bargains here!" should read "1000s of bargains here!"
"New CD's just in!" should read "New CDs just in!"
"Buy your Xmas tree's here!" should be "Buy your Xmas trees here!"
"Growth in the 1980's," should be "Growth in the 1980s."

See Arianna Huffington's Salon.com article "America's apostrophe catastrophe. What's with the growing misuse of that puny piece of punctuation?"

"Think of it as the literary equivalent of the broken-windows theory of crime fighting, which holds that by fighting small quality-of-life crimes like graffiti and vandalism, police send a persuasive message that antisocial behavior, of any scale, will not be tolerated. In this case, putting an end to the chronic misplacement of apostrophes could eventually lead to a better-educated populace, a greater sense of harmony and order, more fuel-efficient cars, a slimmer, trimmer you, cleaner air, an end to the heartbreak of psoriasis, the cancellation of "The Bachelor," and, who knows, maybe even world peace."

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