Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pet Peeves

I have no idea why, but when people misuse the apostrophe it drives me crazy! When my third graders do it, that's one thing. But when grown adults insert an apostrophe in front of an s that doesn't need it, I just want to scream and then get some whiteout or hit the delete button immediately!

Allow me to take this opportunity to educate those of you who aren't sure when to use the apostrophe: Ask yourself, "Am I trying to show possession?" If the answer is yes, then by all means please invite the apostrophe to this punctuation party (can you hear my teacher voice?). For example: This pencil's eraser is pink. Who's eraser? The pencil's eraser. Acceptable apostrophe use. 

However, if you are just talking about more than one of something, then please do not put an apostrophe in front of the s. For example: The pencils have pink erasers. I am not trying to say that the pencils possess anything in this statement so they don't need an apostrophe! Nothing makes my blood pressure go up like seeing "The pencil's have no erasers left." The apostrophe is not needed here, people! The same is true for last names, too. Do not write, The Smith's are here. Instead write, The Smiths are here. The Smiths only get an apostrophe if we are writing about them owning something. Like, Mr. Smith's house is for sale.

Now, let's talk about what to do when you need to show possession and plurality. In this case, you add the apostrophe after the s. For example: The pencils' erasers are pink, or The Smiths' house is for sale.

Another time you might see an apostrophe s is when a word is being combined with is. For example: This pencil is yellow could also be, This pencil's yellow. Note: you do not need an apostrophe when saying I know my ABCs or I was born in the 80s. Just add the s. It's okay, I promise!
Are there any questions? Are you still awake?

While we're on the topic of pet peeves, let me just address the misuse of "your" and "there". I'd have to say that these are just as annoying to me as the apostrophe. Friends, Your amazing is not okay to write. What you mean to say is You're amazing.
Why thank you!
If you can substitute the word with you are then please use the contraction. Your is used for possession. For example: I love your blog.

I know that homophones can be tricky, but after reading this I hope you'll be clear. And that you won't ever write again There awesome or I wish I could be there friend. Look, as much as you might want it to, there does not mean the same thing as they're or their. If you can substitute the word with they are then you need to use the contraction. Again, if you are trying to show possession then please use their. They're awesome and I wish I could be their friend.
If you use proper grammar then I bet you can be!

I'm not trying to sound like I think I'm perfect 'cause Lord knows I'm not! But when I am unsure about how to write or spell something, you better believe I'm looking it up before I post it. I don't know when I became a grammar nazi, but I hope that my pet peeve has enlightened, or at the very least, entertained some of you. Let's not settle for mediocre conventions-let's shoot for grammar glory! My blood pressure would appreciate it.

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