The Great Apostrophes Debate
I've posted this following a minor (and really good childish) dispute with a colleague. Warning: Lots of alcohol isn't always a good thing.
The rules concerning the use of Apostrophes in written English are very simple:
1. They are used to denote a missing letter or letters, for example:
- I can't instead of I cannot
- I don't instead of I do not
- it's instead of it is
2. They are used to denote possession, for example:
- the dog's bone
- the company's logo
- Jones's bakery (but Joneses' bakery if owned by more than one Jones)
... but please note that the possessive form of it does not take an apostrophe any more than ours, yours or hers do
- the bone is in its mouth
... however, if there are two or more dogs, companies or Joneses in our example, the apostrophe comes after the 's':
- the dogs' bones
- the companies' logos
- Joneses' bakeries
3. Apostrophes are NEVER ever used to denote plurals! Common examples of such abuse (all seen in real life!) are:
- Banana's for sale which of course should read Bananas for sale
- Menu's printed to order which should read Menus printed to order
- MOT's at this garage which should read MOTs at this garage
- 1000's of bargains here! which should read 1000s of bargains here!
- New CD's just in! which should read New CDs just in!
- Buy your Xmas tree's here! which should read Buy your Xmas trees here!
Note: Special care must be taken over the use of your and you're as they sound the same but are used quite differently:
is possessive as in this is your pen
is short for you are
as in you're coming over to my house
We are aware of the way the English language is evolving during use, and do not intend any direct criticism of those who have made the mistakes above. We are just reminding all writers of English text, whether on notices or in documents of any type, of the correct usage of the apostrophe should you wish to put right mistakes you may have inadvertently made.
The Apostrophe Protection Society
23 Vauxhall Road, Boston, Lincs. PE21 0JB
The Apostrophe Protection Society was started in 2001 by John Richards, now its Chairman, 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 above was taken from the Apostrophe Protection Society web site.