Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Dreaded Apostrophe

    Thank goodness there is no such thing as grammar police, because I would be serving a life sentence with no chance of parole. And that's the honest truth. Today I thought we would go over the use of the dreaded apostrophe.  Most of them are self-explanatory but then there is the dreaded  ‘s. It can twist us into knots trying to figure out the right way to use this little darling. Is it   ‘s  or  s’ ?  That is the big question as writers we seem to run into. Well today I hope to clear that all up for everyone. I am not a grammar queen but I did a lot of research on this and feel I have it down now.  Lets get started with this grammar lesson. Hang on tight this might throw your brain into overload.    

Rule 1.
Use the apostrophe with contractions. The apostrophe is always placed at the spot where the letter(s) has been removed.

Examples:
don't, isn't

You're right.

She's a great teacher.







Rule 2.
Use the apostrophe to show possession. Place the apostrophe before the s to show singular possession.

Examples:
one boy's hat

one woman's hat

one actress's hat

one child's hat

Ms. Chang's house

NOTE: Although names ending in s or an s sound are not required to have the second s added in possessive form, it is preferred.

Mr. Jones's golf clubs

Texas's weather

Ms. Straus's daughter

Jose Sanchez's artwork

Dr. Hastings's appointment (name is Hastings)

Mrs. Lees's books (name is Lees)






Rule 3.
Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.


Example:
This was his father's, not his, jacket.







Rule 4.
To show plural possession, make the noun plural first. Then immediately use the apostrophe.

Examples:
two boys' hats

two women's hats

two actresses' hats

two children's hats

the Changs' house

the Joneses' golf clubs

the Strauses' daughter

the Sanchezes' artwork

the Hastingses' appointment

the Leeses' books






Rule 5.
Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name.

Examples:
We visited the Sanchezes in Los Angeles.

The Changs have two cats and a dog.






Rule 6.
With a singular compound noun, show possession with 's at the end of the word.

Example:
my mother-in-law's hat






Rule 7.
If the compound noun is plural, form the plural first and then
use the apostrophe.

Example:
my two brothers-in-law's hats






Rule 8.
Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.

Examples:
Cesar and Maribel's home is constructed of redwood.

Cesar's and Maribel's job contracts will be renewed
next year.
Indicates separate ownership.

Cesar and Maribel's job contracts will be renewed next year.
Indicates joint ownership of more than one contract.






Rule 9.
Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose. They already show possession so they do not require an apostrophe.


Examples:
Correct:

This book is hers, not yours.


Incorrect:
Sincerely your's.






Rule 10.
The only time an apostrophe is used for it's is when it is a contraction for it is or it has.

Examples:
It's a nice day.

It's your right to refuse the invitation.

It's been great getting to know you.






Rule 11.
The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes.

Examples:



She consulted with three M.D.s.
BUT
She went to three M.D.s' offices.
The apostrophe is needed here to show plural possessive.

She learned her ABCs.

the 1990s not the 1990's

the '90s or the mid-'70s not the '90's or the mid-'70's

She learned her times tables for 6s and 7s.


Exception:
Use apostrophes with capital letters and numbers when the meaning would be unclear otherwise.


Examples:
Please dot your i's.


You don't mean is.


Ted couldn't distinguish between his 6's and 0's.


You need to use the apostrophe to indicate the plural of zero or it will look like the word Os. To be consistent within a sentence, you would also use the apostrophe to indicate the plural of 6's.






Rule 12.
Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).

Examples:
Alex's skating was a joy to behold.

This does not stop Joan's inspecting of our facilities
next Thursday.






Rule 13.
If the gerund has a pronoun in front of it, use the possessive form
of that pronoun.
Examples:
I appreciate your inviting me to dinner.
I appreciated his working with me to resolve the conflict.

aren't
are not
can't
cannot
couldn't
could not
didn't
did not
doesn't
does not
don't
do not
hadn't
had not
hasn't
has not
haven't
have not
he'd
he had; he would
he'll
he will; he shall
he's
he is; he has
I'd
I had; I would
I'll
I will; I shall
I'm
I am
I've
I have
isn't
is not
let's
let us
mightn't
might not
mustn't
must not
shan't
shall not
she'd
she had; she would
she'll
she will; she shall
she's
she is; she has
shouldn't
should not
that's
that is; that has
there's
there is; there has
they'd
they had; they would
they'll
they will; they shall
they're
they are
they've
they have
we'd
we had; we would
we're
we are
we've
we have
weren't
were not
what'll
what will; what shall
what're
what are
what's
what is; what has
what've
what have
where's
where is; where has
who's
who had; who would
who'll
who will; who shall
who're
who are
who's
who is; who has
who've
who have
won't
will not
wouldn't
would not
you'd
you had; you would
you'll
you will; you shall
you're
you are
you've
you have





     
     Theses little buggers can be confusing and mind jarring at times. I know I struggle with them a lot. But as writers we have to know the proper way to use them. But hey thank God for Crit partners. LOL! I would be lost without mine. A good criter is worth their weight in gold. I hope this lesson helped to straighten out any confusion there might have been on this issue. I found the information on the net very educational and helpful. I hope you all did as well. 

Happy Reading and Writing,
Tabitha Blake

8 comments:

Brenda said...

LOL, oh man, you're not the only one who'd be serving a life sentence for mis-using grammar and punctuation. Thank the Lord there's no such thing as the grammar police--though I do know a troll who is close enough, lol.
Anyway, great post. I learned something new today.

Tabitha Blake said...

Yeah I have a crit partner that is like that too. She tells me I write a heck of a story but my grammar is crap. LOL! You know who you are and you keep me in line with my grammar. Thanks!

Moonsanity said...

Rule #5 threw me--

I think my typing fingers are sometimes completely disconnected from my brain. LOL I read your rules and other than #5 I knew them all BUT my fingers will put in an apostrophe anyways. My 17 year old is my crit partner right now when he's not distracted. He's in AP Lit, and he's got a memory that puts me to shame. He's going off to college next year though, so I might have to find someone else. LOL

D'Ann said...

Apostrophes are my pet peeve, the misuse, that is. I think it's because I own one (my name)!

Duckie said...

blech! It's all so bloody confusing!

Sheri Fredricks said...

I freely admit I'm a space cadet. I try hard to remember the proper usage of the fuc*en apostrophe, but fail at times. Forgive me and teach me if ever I get it wrong. Thank God for crit partners!

Tabitha Blake said...

Grammar can be a royal pain in the butt. Unfortunately it is a necessary evil. LOL!

Redameter said...

I need all the help I can get on grammar. So keep putting it out there and sending notes about it.

I glad to have an editor....most of the time....LOL

love and blessings
Rita