Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Apostrophe

Life is crazy! Buying real estate is a long and complex process. But, more on that later. For now, I have a pet peeve that I must get off my chest. And, this post may offend some people who are guilty of this pet peeve. Let me apologize in advance. My intent is not to offend. But, really this is driving me crazy!

I have noticed lately, that the beloved apostrophe is being used all over the place incorrectly. And, I say that the apostrophe is beloved because people seem to be throwing it about willy nilly with no concern for its proper use, so it must be because they love the apostrophe so much. But, the apostrophe has a definite purpose. It can't be thrown around and put in wherever you want to see it. For my sanity (because I'm a grammar freak), let's have a little grammar lesson about the apostrophe.

All of sudden, people are using the apostrophe to pluralize nouns, usually proper nouns. This is not what the apostrophe is for. That's what an "s" is for. For example, we are The Frisbys. Not The Frisby's. My jaw practically hit the floor when I saw this improper use of the apostrophe in some of our real estate documents. The "seller's" (should be sellers, no apostrophe) were disclosing some information to us. When I see someone pluralize their last name to say who they are and they throw an apostrophe in there, it makes me want to rip my eyeballs out of my head. We are The Smiths, not Smith's. Bakers, not Baker's. Thomases, not Thomas's. Get it? Now, if you want to say that this is the Bakers' house, then you can put the apostrophe in because you're showing possession. And because the Bakers are plural, the apostrophe goes after the "s". Right? And just to back myself up, here's the official word from Grammarbook.com:
"Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name."

So, the moral of the story is that the apostrophe is used to show possession and for contractions. And maybe a few variations of those basic purposes. It is absolutely, positively NOT used to make something plural. Yay for grammar! Now please, use your apostrophes responsibly. My sanity will thank you.

*Since posting this, I realize that some people have last names that may be a little more difficult to pluralize. Here's a link that should clear it all up. If you have a last name that you're not sure about, check this out.

24 comments:

Kevin and Kristina said...

Great post. Too funny! I am forwarding this to Kevin as we speak. He shares the same pet peeve and I violate it often. He is always correcting me when he catches it on my blog. You can feel free to do the same when you see me violate the rule :)

Jared said...

Allow me to share one of my favorite articles concerning the lowly apostrophe. You might be thinking to yourself, "Self, how on earth could he have a favorite article on apostrophes? Could there be more than one?" Yes, I have read multiple articles on this subject matter, and yes, this one is awesome.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe

Kevin said...

"Thomases, not Thomas's."

Ah, but could you not argue that the apostrophe here represents the omitted e? ;^)

Jared said...

Touché.

Andrea said...

Haha. Good post. I know the rules, but sometimes find that I have used this (and other things) incorrectly. Totally bothers me when I see a typo of this kind that I've made. Seems like its is a tricky one-although I'm not remembering why at the moment. Seems like with that word, you are only supposed to use it's when it means it is. Is that right?

Ashlee said...

Ug! I feel your pain...

Stephanie said...

I struggle with things like this too, however, what about my last name? I would like you to clear this up for me. So according to Kevin it should be "Riches???" That's a whole different last name now. Sometimes I am tempted to write "Rich's" since that seems to be what everyone else thinks is right.

Molly said...

Aaaaaaaaaa-men! Same goes for commas. I wish people would learn to correctly use commas. They are one of the greatest things in written language. It's true.

Sharon said...

Sorry, I have to ask, "Are you on your anger medicine at the moment?" And have I used all grammar properly in this comment?

Amy and Arthur said...

I have learned something new today! Thank you!!!

The Mostess said...

Yes to this whole post.

雅俊芬凱陳許 said...
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mommafriz said...
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蕙春蕙春 said...
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MomandDad said...

So I would say Welcome to the Frisby's would mean the Frisby's house which would make it a possession. If you wanted the Frisbys to welcome you then you would say the Frisbys welcome you. Am I right?

mommafriz said...
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mommafriz said...

Word accepts the Frisby's as in we are the Frisby's...most of us are so lazy in the head that we count on spell/gram check to catch these little things

mommafriz said...
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曾戴山柔曾戴山柔 said...
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Hilary said...

Dang, lots of removed comments. Must have been heatin up in here.

This is a great post. Being a Perkins, people always thought it was already plural. Even though Perkinses sounds funny, it's just worse if you take the "s" off and call one of us a Perkin.

A.J. and I love talking about grammar crap. We're sort of nerds about it. It's probably why he loves to spell ehvry werd rong win he rights.

Now post pics of your doggie!

Kevin and Kristina said...

Stephanie- thank you! You ask a great question! Same thing with Pharrises.... looks so weird!! But is it right?

Those are the sort of names that ALWAYS confuse me... which is why Kevin corrects me all the time.

Mary Pat said...

You know, I have a problem with the way people throw the capitol letters around as well. In fact, I catch myself capitolizing words that shouldn't be, and it drives me nuts!

Gordita said...

You know, I was just looking at your sidebar list of lovers and friends, and I noticed that you skirted the issue with last names like Holmes and Rodriguez by putting "Holmes Family" and "Rodriguez Family." That is so what I do. Amen to that.

And amen to the apostrophe deal. When I see misuse I typically assume a lack of education. Harsh? Yes. However... Ahh really I have no excuse for being so harsh. I'm just a jerk and apostrophes bring out the worst in me.

Julie Sparks said...

I hate it when people put an apostrophe after an acronym, for example, "did you check their ID's". Aaargh. I'm forever correcting copy for marketing pieces and reports.