Enough With The Apostrophe Abuse!

Enough With The Apostrophe Abuse!


Apostrophe Abuse

Not too long ago if anyone were to ask me if I think the subject of correct apostrophe placement has been done to death my answer would have been an emphatic yes.

Apparently I would have been wrong. Just because  the Internet is plastered with advice on how to use them does not mean that people are taking the advice on board.

Not a day goes by when I don’t see the blatant misuse of apostrophes. We’re in the midst of an epidemic of gung-ho English language abusers.

To refresh everyone’s memory an apostrophe is used to show that something belongs to someone or something else. It goes at the end of the owner’s name before the ‘s’ if there is one owner – e.g. Allyson’s apostrophe fetish (the apostrophe fetish of Allyson). If the owner is plural it goes after the ‘s’ – e.g. The writers’ apostrophe fetish (the apostrophe fetish of the writers).

Apostrophes are also used to show that letters have been omitted – e.g. did not becomes didn’t, have not becomes haven’t.

Here is a more detailed explanation.

What apostrophes are not used for are simple plurals. Take the case of the picture above. Got it right on the first word but doesn’t it go downhill from there? I have to drive past this sign regularly and it never fails to irritate me.

What’s worse is presumably a professional sign writer is responsible for this atrocity, not once but three separate times on the three sides of the sign – a panorama of incorrectness. One would think if someone paints signs for a living they would have, at least, an understanding of basic English punctuation rules. Not a good advertisement for this tradesman’s skill. Indeed it makes everyone involved look like twits.

The worst part of all is imagining that a whole bunch of people must have gathered before the finished sign umming and ahhing and nodding their approval – the illiterate idiots.

If it were my sign and my business being advertised it would never have seen the light of day, figuratively speaking of course since I’m almost sure it was painted in the light of day. Even if it wasn’t that’s no excuse. I won’t even begin to mention the rest of the sign – by the way Terry, 2 is a number not an adverb – oh never mind!

How many other people drive past this and cringe? And where are those amazing people who risk life and limb to erase the superfluous and offensive apostrophes which blight the urban landscape? I always do it on a smaller scale such as chalkboard menus and printed material but this one is a job for the extremists.

I’ve done what I can by pointing it out – as if people haven’t noticed it. All I can do now is hope those punctuation fanatics find it and relieve us of this outrageous travesty.


One Reply to “Enough With The Apostrophe Abuse!”

  1. Kathryn Work says:

    I agree completely. It is probably time that Australia officially created a language rather than abusing the English language. If you want to have a field day and play with poor punctuation go to http://www.stansburysa.com and read the report by the Tourism Officer in the Stansbury Scribble, usually page 2 or 3. I know I make mistakes and I try to proofread several times to correct errors!

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