Though the recent increase in frequency of apostrophe errors might suggest otherwise, reports of the death of the apostrophe are highly exaggerated.
Writers, editors and English teachers worry about such things, as one can tell by the very existence of organizations like The Apostrophe Protection Society. But I can’t find even one style guide that acknowledges the possible impending demise of the apostrophe.
So this week I’m celebrating the life of this lovely & clarifying bit of punctuation.
It helps us out with contractions, working its magic to transform they are into they’re or we have into we’ve.
It helps us understand ownership, so instead of the smile that belongs to Ahmed we have Ahmed’s smile.
It even helps us tell when something belongs to more than one person, so if a girl wields a club, it’s a girl’s club, but if more than one girl join together, we have a girls’ club.
If you have a minute or two to celebrate the apostrophe, check out this brief video introducing the new Scholastic superhero, Apostrophe Girl, sing along with the Apostrophe Song by Shaun McNicholas, or peruse the painfully embarrassing photo archives of apostrophe abuse collected by John Richards of the Apostrophe Protection Society.
If you have a tale of sad apostrophe use, or have stayed up nights worrying that these wonderful little beasts might be going the way of the passenger pigeon, feel free to share in the comments section.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: Huffington Post, The Apostrophe Protection Society, Scholastic Magazine, Shaun McNicholas, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, Grammar Girl, & Associated Press Stylebook.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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