Grammar Wednesday

Okay, here we go: the third weekly Grammar Wednesday. I’m devoting this week’s edition to the apostrophe.

One of my pet peeves (and yes, they are many and varied, I know) is the improper use of apostrophes. Case in point: in addition to teaching English at TCC, I also teach fitness classes at a local health club. An instructor who took a leave of absence has returned to work, and there are bright yellow signs posted everywhere around the club that proclaim:


Dennis is back!! Kickboxing on Wednesday’s at 7:00 p.m.!


It’s killing me. SO, here are the apostrophe rules. Ready?

Use an apostrophe to show posession:

Jen’s favorite holiday movie is A Christmas Story.

If you happen to see her in class, would you return Lisa’s book to her, please?

Wednesday’s child is full of woe.



Remember to use apostrophes when you’re making plural posessives, too:

The children’s room was a disaster after the sleep-over party.

Ties are located in the men’s department, which is to the right of the escalator.

The ladies’ locker room is closed for renovations and will reopen next Tuesday.



Use apostrophes to stand for the missing letters in a contraction:

You can drink that outdated milk, but you’ll be sorry later.

She’s going to the party, but he’s decided to stay home and watch the game.

I would’ve if I could’ve, but I couldn’t so I didn’t.



Please – don’t EVER use apostrophes for plurals, EVER!







Filed under Grammar

9 responses to “Grammar Wednesday

  1. It looks good around here!

    Thank’s for the les’son on apostrophe’s . It wa’s really helpful. I think I’am beginning to get the hang of it! 😉

    Have a great week and good luck with finals!


  2. Organic Mama

    I don’t go as far as advocating a special armed branch of the service called the Apostrophe Police, but I do consider myself an agent, nonetheless. I mean, lot’s and lot’s? Recruitment at it’s best? Cantaloupe’s 35 cents a pound? Dear God!

    Abject misuse should be a crime. Just saying.

  3. You know what gets me, though, Mama? The textbook from which we taught last term tells kids that it’s okay to say “ID’s” and “the 1700’s.” I was taught not to do that, and that’s what I passed along to my students, textbook be damned.

    It’s that kind of stuff – “T.V.’s and VCR’s for sale!” and “the roaring 20’s” – that I see most often, and that just set me on edge.

  4. nosugrefneb

    Agreed. I’ll express my thanks as well. I contribute to a grammar blog as well, and we’ve been discussing this recently over there too.

  5. I do a huge braintwitch of despair every time I see apostrophes abused. A particularly common one that bugs the hell out of me is when people add needless apostrophes to “its.” Possessive pronouns do not take apostrophes!! Auugh.

  6. This may be the biggest single problem my grammar class had last term. I see apostrophes used incorrectly (put where they don’t belong or left out of where they do) ALL over the place – the grocery store, the car dealership, the newspaper, the movie theater. I’m doing my little part to help remedy the situation, but it’s going to take a grass-roots movement, I think…

  7. I am guilty of using apostrophes on years. Never on acronyms, but years. My eighth grade english teacher told me it was okay, and so I did it for years. These days I waver, and probably use apostrophes about half the time. Logically it is incorrect, but it just looks nicer to use them, and it is an ingrained habit with me. It might be one of those rules that is changing, or that varies from country to country — I know that the U.K. has a lot of subtly different punctuation and grammatical rules.

    I will ask my ultimate grammar authority, my advanced composition professor, next time I see her.

  8. Oooh I am being such a spammy commenter, but I thought of another question when I was writing the last one. It’s not worth a full post, but do you know any usage rules on “shall” versus “will?” I have a vague memory that it has something to do with the subjunctive, but beyond my religious zeal for the correct usage of “were” in the subjunctive, I am terribly confused by subjunctives.

    It doesn’t matter for me much in real life right now — it’s one of those grammar rules that should be completely ignored in rural areas unless you want people to laugh at you — but it’d be nice to know for academia and the internet.

  9. I have very little patience for poor punctuation. I have to believe that some improper use of the apostrophe is just plain laziness. “Wednesday’s” How does that even LOOK right??

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