Sep 21, 2007

A Moment Of Silence For The Apostrophe


I posted this on the Burnside Blog, so if you read both, my apologies for the redundancy.

NOTE: This blog originally contained two photos of signs found at Target advertising Trouser's and Jean's. But Blogger removed the photos. Maybe Target owns Blogger?

Anyway, without the photos, the blog just reads like a snobby rant. Which I guess it is ...

I know, I'm a grammar snob. I know that far worse errors are being overlooked in the halls of education. Like, bringing guns to class. And I know we all do things in our private penmanship we aren't proud of. (Or, "of which we are not proud.")

But when bad grammar usage makes it into corporate signage, spread on every sale rack in the Target chain whose ads aim for today's hip clientele and tomorrows tastemakers ... Then I really have to speak out. And it's always the same crime. The apostrophe.

Since when doe's an anything with in an "S" have an apostrophe? I's thi's becau'se we're outsourcing our sign's to Ch'i'n'a?

Here's (here is) when to use the punctuation in question.

  • To indicate the contraction of two words.
    here is = here's
    . We will = we'll. You are = you're
  • Or possession; belonging to...
    Susan's pet peeve
    . The pet peeve that Susan has.
    Sophie's Choice.
    The choice that Sophie made.
  • DO NOT USE on Plurals. The S just indicates that there is more than one.
    Pants: many pants. Trousers: many trousers.
    Idiots who make signs. Many idiots make many signs.
Unless you're Arabic, where they put a contraction in everything, al'ham d'Allah, then leave the doggies alone!

And now a moment of silence to remember why we are here: not to eradicate poverty, injustice or Justin Timberlake. We're here to make grammar waymobetta.

PS: As Annina below points out, a common faux pas of the apostrophe is its vs. it's.
It's
only it's when it's a contraction of it is.
  • Baby it's cold outside. It's all good. It's Miller Time.
Not ....

3 comments:

Annina said...

Wouldn't wanna browbeat a woman doing Godz work, but you forgot its/it's.

And of course the Wilsons' (not the Wilson's) party -- as the latter would have been the party the Wilson had when he was still without the Suzer.

(Just noticed today that my Windsor Pilates DVD has a title card instructing me to do "ten repatitions." Maybe it meant reparations.)

Ruth said...

Can I put in for they're, their and there?

They're: they are. They're going soon.

Their: Their brother is coming

There: There are too many people who don't know how to use this word.

Tina said...

That's it, Susan... you've inspired me. I'm going to start a non-profit to stop misuse of the apostrophe. I'll have bumper stickers, pins, t-shirts, and banners... I'll pass out fliers on the streets. www.stopapostropheabuse.org. Or perhaps www.freetheapostrophe.org?

Is it really that hard? It drives me crazy. How about Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock in "Two Weeks Notice"? Evidently not one person involved in the making of that movie graduated from eighth grade.

My favorite unforgivable signage? Manhattan Beach, right on the main drag, a block from the water, in brazen bright red neon, screaming its ignorance: "Dianes Bikini's." Two words, two very bad mistakes. I wanted to go into the store, walk to the counter and ask, "Diane's Bikini's what?" Sure, they wouldn't be able to hear the apostrophe in the first word, but I would know it was there.

Thanks for blogging on this very important issue. :) Time to sign off, Im going for a walk. Its a lovely day outside...

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