Due to the astonishing rise in apostrophe usage, plurals are quickly becoming extinct. If nothing is done to remedy this situation, plurals will be a thing of the past.
Dun dun dun (cue scary organ music)
Everywhere you look, apostrophes are running rampant. Menus, church bulletins, SCHOOL PAPERS and even published books are throwing plurals out to pasture. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people.
See if you can find the errors in this brief paragraph:
Parent’s, please bring your childrens’ yearbook’s to the class party. We would like all the boy’s and girl’s to sign yearbook’s for a memory’s keepsake.
No, the school handout I saw wasn’t this bad, but I promise I’ve seen all of these mistakes at one time or another. If your heart constricted and your breath became shallow while reading the above, you feel my pain. Thank you. If you don’t see anything wrong with those sentences, maybe God is trying to tell you something. (cue a heavenly choir)
I put this status on FB the other day:
Plurals feel highly neglected with all the misused apostrophes…just thought you should know.
I was asked for help, so here I am. 🙂
Let’s talk about apostrophes.
*Apostrophes and contractions belong together. don’t, isn’t, haven’t, she’s
*Apostrophes are all like, “MINE!” They show possession. Put the apostrophe before the s. the girl’s toe, the boy’s frog.
Note that names ending in s or the s sound don’t HAVE to have the added s, but it’s preferred. Ross’s books, Mr. Lees’s food, Miss Jones’s cookie.
*Throw in an apostrophe when a noun to follow is implied. It is my mother’s.
Speaking of mothers, those mother-in-laws can be tricky…
*In singular compound nouns, show possession with ‘s at the end. my mother-in-law’s tree
*In plural compound nouns, make the noun plural first and then add the ‘s at the end. two mothers-in-law’s stories, three brothers-in law’s jokes (I’d probably just say their names to avoid this whole thing, but this handy rule is nice to have up your sleeve.)
*For plural possession, make the noun plural first and then add the apostrophe. three girls’ shoes, two actresses’ parts, the Joneses’ cookies.
*Apostrophes do not belong in a plural name. Sabins, Atkinsons, Ramirezes
*Apostrophes have no place with possessive pronouns. his, hers, its, theirs, ours, whose
Except, you know, it’s if you’re talking about it is or it has…
*Plural letters and numbers used as nouns do not need apostrophes. She mixed up her 5s and 9s. ABCs, the 80s.
UNLESS, it is unclear without an apostrophe. Please dot your i’s. (otherwise it would look like is)
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something important here. Feel free to throw in your 2 cents, thoughts, feelings and grief on the subject. If you want to write about more than one of something, add an S. If you’re talking to parents, don’t you dare add an apostrophe! There is a time and place for everything and that is not it.