Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Wednesday writing, The Apostrophe

The Apostrophe. I am going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, a geek and various other terms but I do get annoyed when people don’t use the apostrophe correctly (or at all). I find a lot of people just don’t bother in emails, texts, message forums and that drives me around the bend.

I know that some people are unsure of when to use it so here are some simple tips:

  • Firstly, use it to indicate an abbreviated word/phrase like can’t, won’t, haven’t, you’re (when short for you are), they’re (when short for they are), it’s (when short for it is).
  • (And use the correct word – you cannot use ‘your’ as short for ‘you are’. You would only use that to indicate that something belongs to someone, eg, your book. Similarly with their as in ‘their book’. ‘There’, on the other hand, you would use to indicate where something is, eg, over there).
  • And secondly, use the apostrophe to indicate something belongs to someone like Jen’s books, Jen’s blog. DO NOT USE it when indicating something belongs to ‘it’, eg, its car park. In this case it is like using the word ‘his’ as in ‘His car park’. You wouldn’t put in the apostrophe then even though it belongs to them.
  • DO NOT USE it when you have plurals, eg, 'the workers arrived early today' – not unless you were referring to something which belongs to more than one worker so "the workers’ car park" in which case the apostrophe goes on the outside (unless you have a single worker in which case see the second example above).

Hope that helps a little and I should also emphasise  I don’t get it right all the time but at least I try.


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