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The misuse of apostrophes in grammar (it's out of control)

27 comments

Not the traditional possessive problem, but my company's marketing department actually published a document with the word "who've". As in, "those who've...".
Posted by Ashley on 05/17/01

My neighbor had a bumper sticker on his ratty old van that said, "Start Seeing Harley's". Harley's? Harley's what? His bike? His shoes? His wallet?

This booboo was repeated by a motorcycle rental shop that specialized in renting HD motorcycles. In 1' letters on a giant orange banner visible for blocks, it said, "WE RENT HARLEY'S". What of Harley's do you rent? His house? His computer? His garage? Who is this Harley dude anyway?

Posted by tholt on 05/17/01

Suck List submissions with incorrect apostrophe usage are automatically discarded, no matter how clever. Please consult your favorite style and usage guide before pushing "send."
Posted by dack on 05/17/01

Around where I live, there's a car dealer named Roberts. Their license plate frame says "Roberts," and the dealer decal says "Robert's." Ugh.
Posted by dayvin on 05/17/01

Maybe his name is Robert Roberts.
Posted by wright on 05/17/01

Definitely my foremost pet peeve. Like when a sign says "'Fresh' Strawberries"... so what qualifies as "fresh"? I prefer to eat fresh fruit. And WHAT IS SO DAMN HARD about the difference between "its" and "it's"??????????
Posted by DivaCNFP on 05/17/01

I love posting topics to porno groups with title like:
A'P'H'R'O'D'I'S'A'C'S for M'E'N
because that bypasses the message filters!

HARHARHAR!!!

Posted by Spam McSpam on 05/17/01

The "it's" and "its" thing is pretty bad. But I do have a question: if a word or name (ex: Jones) ends in an "s", is the possessive form Jones' or Jones's? I think they can both be used, but I think people who pull the "s's" thing need therapy.
Posted by Lappy on 05/17/01

It would be Jones'. To the best of my knowledge, the Jones's use would be inappropriate but you never know if the dumbing down of America crowd has changed the rules. For that matter, what the hell happened? Apostrophe misuse has always been a problem, but it is everywhere now. Fuck, even relatively smart people are fucking things up. Here's my theory:

1. The educational "self esteem" movement has been around long enough to create a generation of total grammatical incompetents (most likely they're incompetent in everything else but that's another matter).
2. As those incompetents have worked their way into adult society and polluted the printed word with their faulty knowledge, other people who knew how to use apostrophes started thinking "Shit, if I add an s at the end of a word I need to put an apostrophe in there before it. Everyone else is doing it, I guess I've just been wrong all of these years."

Anyone else have any idea's?

Posted by Herschel on 05/17/01

you may use jones's if a group of jones possessed something worth mentioning. and if dack acxually stripped all posts with apostrophe error's (clearly an idle threat), what would be might be correct but not very funny
Posted by dogger on 05/17/01

Actually I think it would be Joneses'. To make a word that ends in s plural you add es (I can visualize my college prof teaching it). I think the same rule applies to words that end in z.
Posted by Herschel on 05/17/01

well, i pulled out "elements of grammar", shertzer, 1986 and (1) the plural of jones is joneses (page 13) ((apologies to hershey's)), (2) the possessive of proper nouns that end in s is jones' ~or~ jones's (page 98), (3) so we are all correct except me.
Posted by dogger on 05/17/01

And how people using "loose" when they meant to say "lose"?

"But when Keanu stops shooting, the movie *looses* my attention."

I'd say that your attention was never very 'tight' to begin with, dumbass.

I won't even get into all the mixed sayings using soundalike words. "That straw man would be a 'shoe in'." GRRRRRR.

Posted by grammar nazi on 05/17/01

The opposite kind of misuse is just as maddening. The invitation to my high school reunion stated "Your Invited!"
Posted by JPC on 05/18/01

It drive's me nut's when foolish people misuse apostrophe's too.
They should be whipped to an inch of their lives'.

Posted by Me too on 05/19/01

we should climb a top a great public building with a high-powered rifle and shoot them all, in my opinion..
Posted by pixelate on 05/22/01

The misuse of apostrophes has long been my absolutely greatest pet peeve ever!!!

Regarding the jones example, I will confess that this is where I myself get a little fuzzy. Nonetheless, I remember being taught that it depended on the number of syllables. Words of one syllable was treated the regular way but longer words just got the apostrophe. For instance, it would be "Davy Jones's locker" but "the Joneses' lockers". Anyone else remember something similar?

Posted by janet on 05/28/01

Oops. I meant "words of one syllable WERE..."
Posted by janet on 05/28/01

"we should climb a top a great public building with a high-powered rifle and shoot them all, in my opinion.."

My sentiments exactly...someone sic the grammar police on these morons!

Posted by mark on 07/05/01

I have the worst apostrophe story. To this day it still bothers me...
Every day i have to walk by an apartment complex to get home, called Mulberry Court Condominiums. Of course, they prefer the title "Condominium's". I see that unnecessary apostrophe and shudder. But here's the clincher: About 6 months ago, they corrected their error, and painted over the apostrophe. Apparently, some people prefer stupidity, because they re-painted the correction, and the blasted apostrophe is back!!!

Posted by me on 07/08/01

Well boys and girls it is obvious by reading the text that there are more important grammer mistakes to be worked on. A little clarification here. If a noun doesn't end with an -s add an apostrophe and -s. Eg the boy's ball/ the cat's toy. If the plural of the noun ends with an -s add an apostrophe. Eg the horses' tail/the pigs'slop/the babies'diapers If it is a proper noun that ends with -s add both an apostrophe and -s Jones's farm/Chris's steak house. As far as I know that's all of it in a nut shell
Posted by Let it rest on 07/11/01

The local car dealer in my area has (on a very large banner):

Sell your "car" here

Do they mean that if you have a vehicle similar to a car you can also sell it? It doesn't have to be a real car???

Posted by Monika on 07/16/01

Bad grammar and punctuation are rampant. There's no place to hide, I'm afraid.

The gratuitous quotation marks present a real problem for me. They tend to cast doubt on the object around which they are placed. My favorite example of this was at a Food 4 Less in California. The entire produce section was labeled with quotes surrounding the item names. They had "strawberries" and "grapes" and "watermelon". We spent about a half an hour in that produce section laughing at the "fruit".

Posted by rebecca on 07/17/01

People in the USA speak and spell American, not English.

Deal with it.

Posted by The American on 07/24/01

To The American: Sorry, but these are all errors according to American usage. Deal with it.
Posted by A linguist on 08/09/01

Yaaw'll need some flippen' help!
Posted by yowser on 08/14/01

There should be a tax of $1 or more
every time an apostrophe is used
incorrectly or incorrectly omitted. This would solve the
national debt problem and get these
idiots to look in a reference book
before writing. How about those who get such phrases as "him and me" or "he and I" wrong? How hard
is it to say in one's mind "to him and to me" instead of "to him and I"? This misusage drives me crazy!

Posted by Hoser on 10/23/01


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