1. Apostrophe Catastrophe
2. Lunch ’n’ Learn seminars
3. HR Monthly article: "Writing Wrongs"
The apostrophe is the most abused, confused punctuation mark of all. Use it incorrectly and this small mark can cause you big embarrassment.
Is it “the cats pyjamas,” “the cat ’s pyjamas,” or “the cats’ pyjamas”? “Its a nice day” or “It’s a nice day”? “DVDs” or “DVD’s”? The bind moggles.
(See some real-life howlers at the
Apostrophe Protection Society.)
Apostrophes are actually pretty straightforward. They have two main uses:
- To show one or more letters are missing, e.g. “It’s a nice day.” The apostrophe here stands in place of the missing “i" in “It is”. Other examples: don’t (for “do not”), can’t (for “cannot”), and won’t (for “will not”).
- To show something belongs to something else (i.e. the possessive use), e.g. “The dog’s bones.” That’s the singular version, meaning the bones belong to just one dog. If there were two or more dogs, it becomes “The dogs’ bones” (the plural version).
The exception to the rule that tricks many, is “its.” You could be tempted to write, “The cat hurt it’s leg,” because the “leg” belongs to “it,” the cat, and you'd be obeying the possessive rule in point 2 above, right?
Wrong. The correct version is, “The cat hurt its leg,” because the exception to the rule is “its.” Remember this:
ONLY use an apostrophe in “it's” when it means “it is.”
DVD’s or DVDs?
Let’s see how good a student you are. Using what you learned above, vote here on which DVD version is right.
As soon as you vote you'll get the answer. I’ll share the poll results next month.
See you then!