Alright bloggy friends, let's make the internet a nicer place and learn how to use apostrophes correctly. I learned how to use my punctuation correctly back in 4th grade, and it just somehow stuck with me all the way through AP Lit. and onwards into college. I don't know what happened to the rest of the internet (too much texting, I gather), but I'd appreciate it if my Facebook wall, the blogosphere, and other frequented internet sites weren't cluttered with ignorant abuses of punctuation. I know, I know, you're typing too fast and your thoughts get ahead of your Elements of Style, right?*
If you're gonna have a blog, learn to proofread and EDIT please! I'll be the first to admit that I have stopped following a blog if the grammar mistakes are getting out of hand. It makes me cringe, and it makes me think the writer is an idiot. Also, I absolutely refuse to read a blog with an unintentional grammar issue in its title. I know I'm not perfect either, but at least I'm trying over here. And I have been known to go back and EDIT posts from weeks (yes, weeks!) ago if I notice an issue. [And, no, I would not be offended if you called me out in the comments. Unless you're just plain wrong.]
Call me a grammar snob, but here is a 3-minute lesson, and I hope some of it sticks.
- Plural words: This is probably where I see the most abuse. They NEVER get apostrophes if they're not possessive also. EVER. I don't care if it's a proper noun. The President and his family are the Obamas. I like cats, submarines, restaurants, bistros, coupons, skillets, and biscuits on Saturdays. I could go on all freakin' day.
- It's and its: It's = It is (or it has). Always. It's a nice day for the beach. It's got amazing horsepower. Here's a tip: It's can almost always be made into 'tis, because they are a contraction of the same phrase. If 'tis can't work, then drop the apostrophe because you've probably got a possessive on your hand. Its is the possessive form of it. Did you give the cat its water? My car lost its left front tire.
- Possessives: If it is a singular noun, the apostrophe goes before the S (with the exception of It). This is Cat's blog! She's using her husband's laptop. If it is a plural noun that already has an S on the end, put the apostrophe after. We're gonna have a bloggers' meet-up at the officers' club.
- Contractions and omissions. This when you get to use apostrophes a lot. Taking out a letter? Use one. Combining a noun and verb into one word? Use one. Writing in dialect? Use a few. Here's a sentence where there ain't nothin' wrong. If you're attempting some complicated experiments in the English language, I promise not to cringe if you're slightly off.
If you want to brush up a little more on your punctuation or read about why it's important, check out the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. If you're shouting "Amen!" to everything I just said, check out the site Apostrophe Abuse. If that site doesn't make you cringe, then you really need to brush up.
And how awesome is this guy?:
Now go forth, write with correct grammar, and make your high school English teacher proud. But don't forget to proof that sucker.