Welcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!!
Last week, we talked about using the right words. This week, I’m going to tackle that catastrophic punctuation mark, the dreaded APOSTROPHE.
Nothing, except perhaps the COMMA, strikes fear in the heart of a writer or editor as much as incorrectly using the apostrophe.
Let’s break down the most commonly misused rules…
Use the apostrophe to show possession for single nouns:
The cat’s hat sat on the mat.
Little Billy’s fly was open and all the girls screamed.
What happens when the word ends in S?
The rules differ according to where you live, and per publishing house style. The trick here is to choose one and stay consistent.
Damas’s name was so unusual, he hated it.
Damas’ name was impossible to spell so he changed it.
Use the apostrophe to show possession for plural nouns:
Tonight is the guys’ night out. All the guys are going out.
Tomorrow is the girls’ night out. All the girls are going out.
DO NOT use an apostrophe to make a regular noun plural:
The cave had many bat’s. WRONG!!
The cave had many bats. CORRECT!!
What about irregular nouns?
The childrens’ toys is incorrect.
The children’s toys is correct, because the plural noun is CHILDREN, not childrens.
DO NOT use an apostrophe to make a name plural:
The Wilsons’ are here is incorrect.
The Wilsons are here is correct.
Apostrophes are used with contractions:
The apostrophe is placed where the letters have been removed.
Do not becomes Don’t
Should have becomes Should’ve
Does not becomes Doesn’t
There are many, many rules when it comes to using apostrophes. When in doubt, I strongly urge you to consult a website specifically designed to teach grammar rules. This is one I found easy to read and understand: