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 How to use an apostrophe FYI

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MisterE
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PostSubject: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:11 pm

Apostrophe Rules
Rules for the correct use of the apostrophe.

In UK and US English, the apostrophe is used:

To indicate the possessive.
To indicate missing letters.
Sometimes to indicate the structure of unusual words.

1. To indicate the possessive.

This is Peter's book.
This book is Peter's.
The dog's dinner looks disgusting.
Diana was the people's princess.
I tore up the men's shirts.
One should choose one's words carefully.
It is everyone's duty to protest.
It is no-one's responsibility.

Personal pronouns (words like I, you, he, she, it, we, they) indicate the possessive by becoming a whole new word. These new words are already possessive, so they don't need an apostrophe: my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs. Note that none of them has an apostrophe.

The house is yours.
The dog broke its leg.
She said the book was hers.
They claimed it was theirs.
But really it was ours.

It's means it is or it has. There's no such word as its'.

2. To indicate missing letters in the middle of words or phrases.

You can't have it.
Don't do that!
I'd like an ice-cream, please.
We'd better hurry.

But we don't always use apostrophes:

15, Elm Rd.
St Matthew Passion
Photo is short for photograph.
It is easier to say CD than Compact Disc.

In the cases where you wouldn't use an apostrophe in the singular, don't use it for the plural:

I had one photo.
They had two photos.
We sell CDs and DVDs.
I was born in the 1960s.

But we say this CD's broken because it's a short form of this CD is broken.

3. Sometimes to indicate the structure of unusual words.

A few words are sufficiently confusing that we want to indicate to the reader how the word is constructed. The apostrophe can be used for this if it is really necessary, but mostly it isn't.

He bcc'd a copy to all the managers.
Mind your p's and q's.
Dot your i's and cross your t's.
A list of do's and don'ts.

But you might consider:

He sent a blind copy to all the managers
Mind your ps and qs
Dot your is and cross your ts
A list of DOs and DON'Ts.

There's no need for it in:

She got three As in her exams.
All our CDs are perfect.
We sell videos.
I'd like two cappuccinos, please.


Where do I put the apostrophe?
Childrens' shoes or children's shoes?

The apostrophe goes directly after the thing doing the possessing:

The sun's rays = the rays of the sun.
The table's leg = the leg of the table.
The archbishop's palace = the palace of the archbishop.
The archbishops' palace = the palace of the archbishops.
The men's shirts = the shirts of the men.
Children's T-shirts = T-shirts of children.
The people's princess = the princess of the people.
The American peoples' inheritance = the inheritance of the American peoples.
My mother's photo = photo of my mother.
One week's notice = notice of one week.
Two weeks' notice = notice of two weeks.
Three years' experience = experience of three years.
Everyone's help = help of everyone.

Note that we can often use for instead of of – shirts for the men. The possessive is much a looser concept than ownership: the girls may not own the school, but it's still a girls' school.

No Apostrophe

The apostrophe is used to show a connection between two things: if a dog has a bone, it's the dog's bone. But sometimes there is no possessive connection.

Sometimes the relationship is adjectival, not possessive:

Accounts department
Sports car

The accounts don't have the department, and the sports don't have a car – it's a department of type "accounts", and a car of type "sports". We could just as well have written:

Marketing department
Two-door car

A department of type "marketing" and a car of type "two-door". Clearly not possessive.


Sometimes there's no thing to possess or be possessed:

Twelve weeks pregnant

There's no such thing as a "pregnant", and the twelve weeks can't have one, so the phrase is not possessive. We could say twelve weeks' notice and two years' experience, because there are such things as notice and experience, and in some sense they are linked to ("given by" if you like) the twelve weeks and the two years. (Technically, pregnant is an adjective, notice and experience are nouns. Possessive phrases need two nouns – one to possess and one to be possessed.)

A forty-week pregnancy

The pregnancy is not linked to a "forty-week". In forty weeks' pregnancy, the pregnancy is linked to forty weeks.

She walks the dog

You sometimes see She walk's the dog, but this is wrong. The walks here is not the possessive of a walk, but the present tense of the verb to walk. Verbs never take possessive apostrophes. It should be she walks the dog.

CD's and video's for sale.

This is also wrong – there's nothing in the sentence to be possessed by the CD or the video. It should be plural, not possessive: CDs and videos for sale. It would be OK to say the CD's label was coming off, and the video's price was wrong, because the CD does have a label, and the video does have a price.


Sometimes it's just a plural:

I own three Fords.
I reckon Sonys are the best DVD players.
I've sold three Ford Mondeos and two Ford Kas.
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:26 pm

There's no apostrophe in French Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Aristokles



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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:08 am

Would have been nice had the rules for possessive plurals been included.
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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:32 am

Thank you.
Apostrophe abuse is my greatest peave. Twisted Evil
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gravel

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:37 am

Now I can properly use the 'postrohe.
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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:54 am

Most people should never use an apostrophe.
They'd be wrong less often. Twisted Evil
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George Kaplan

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:12 am

This visual aide might help:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe
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Dutch

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:44 am

I love's me some apostorphe's! cheers
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Simple Man

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:43 am

Yes, but it's still alright to use it to replace a letter to emphasize dialect, such as "gettin'"... I want to make sure you Yankees read me right and don't think I'd be sayin' words like "getting" or "saying." Who speaks that way? Laughing Wink
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idbowman

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:33 am

monbla256 wrote:
There's no apostrophe in French Twisted Evil Twisted Evil


Essayez à nouveau, s'il vous plaît
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mark
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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:35 am

Hermit wrote:
Thank you.
Apostrophe abuse is my greatest peeve. Twisted Evil

fix'd it for you'se

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Ocelot55

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:56 am

While we're on the topic of grammar, I might add that a preposition is a horrible thing to end a sentence with.

...

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Simple Man

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:02 am

Ocelot55 wrote:
While we're on the topic of grammar, I might add that a preposition is a horrible thing to end a sentence with.

...


"This is the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put." - Winston Churchill

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George Kaplan

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:34 am

Do we get to learn about semicolons next?
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Buckshot

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:57 pm

George Kaplan wrote:
Do we get to learn about semicolons next?

That will be covered in the anatomy class. affraid
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George Kaplan

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:59 pm

Buckshot wrote:
George Kaplan wrote:
Do we get to learn about semicolons next?

That will be covered in the anatomy class. affraid

lol!
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:09 pm

Two wrong apostrophes do make a right: "When one quotes another in type, within the quote itself 'such as this,' two apostrophes should be used." These are the lowly "single quotation mark." They are not jealous nor possessive.

From The Society of Learn The Rules Before Breaking Them

(...Talkin' Nevada don' count, neither...)

Cool
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beetlejazz

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:34 pm

George Kaplan wrote:
Buckshot wrote:
George Kaplan wrote:
Do we get to learn about semicolons next?

That will be covered in the anatomy class. affraid

lol!
This reminds me of...


That aside, s'orry, will be having adventurou's use's of apro's'trophe becau's'e thi's i's my s'econd language.
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Stick

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:34 pm

I've just stumbled across this thread. My thoughts are they can make the difference between knowing your sh*t and knowing you're sh*t. Suspect
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Fumus

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:36 pm

Laughing Good point.
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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:27 pm

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Ozark Wizard

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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:49 pm

It's the crux of the bisquit, of course!
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:13 pm

I'm glad you guys bumped this one again. Twisted Evil

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puros_bran
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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:51 pm

To All Concerned Parties:
CC:Righsaidfred@toosexy.com, Johnisjonesing@junkiesrus.com, iamthewalrus@eggman.com, icantspelleworthshit@meriumwebster.com,
Iknowitallbecauseivedoneitfor159years@monblablabla.com, puffdaddy@ihearthillary.com, pb@berniesandersismyhero.com

In light of new and frequent abuse of the English Language, I am asking that the members re-read the above sticky.

I am also asking the distinguished gentleman that penned said sticky to put his keyboard to good use and issue forth appropriate regulations concerning spelling and grammar in general.

                                                   Sincerely,
                                                      PB
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: How to use an apostrophe FYI   Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:02 am

Don't get me started... I'd all but given up over the last few years. Crying or Very sad

Doc M wold edit a lot of the cringe-worthy posts back in the day. I afraid the Internet has won in 2016. No



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