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In my day (the '70s) you were constantly corrected for
abusing apostrophes. Nowadays, who cares? Well, I do and you should too
It's official. Apostrophes are being abused all over Australia. The
delicate and special apostrophe is being trotted out on display
whenever people have doubts about their grammar.
Apostrophes have been hauled into the public arena and slapped around
for all to see - on signs, directions, advertising and on the internet.
So much so, that I'm thinking of forming a political party with the theme:
s'top apo'strophe abu'se
So, just how has this apostrophe abuse happened in Australia? Surely,
our primary school teachers taught us the relevant rules. In my day
(the '70s) you were constantly corrected for abusing apostrophes.
Nowadays, who cares? Well, I do and you should too.
Here are the six main rules for correct apostrophe use:
1. Never use an apostrophe to form a plural (ie. more
than one), as in:
2. An apostrophe is used to show the omission of
letters in a shortened word, as in:
3. An apostrophe denotes that someone owns something.
This is called a possessive singular noun, as in:
4. For plural possessive nouns, use an apostrophe
after the plural word, as in:
5. If the word is plural and does not end with an s,
you add an apostrophe, followed by an s. This is called a plural
possessive noun, (not ending in s):
6. Use an apostrophe when two or more people or
groups own the same thing, as in:
So, that's the shortened version. It saves you yawning through about
five years of grammar lessons.
The very amusing website Oatmeal has a great set of posters about
grammar that'll really get you laughing. There are posters about irony, how to use a semicolon, when and
when not to use i.e. in
a sentence and 10
words you need to stop misspelling. Make them your bible and
you'll become the teacher's pet.
So, feel free to send in your real-life photos of apostrophe abuse;
I'd love to publish them on my next blog.
I reckon I'm not the only one who gets raving mad about apostrophe abuse.
This post was originally published on TAFEnow on
20 March 2014. TAFEnow is an Australia-wide online provider,
operating out of North Coast TAFE, one of the 10 TAFE NSW
Institutes. Enquiries can be directed to tafenow.com.au.