Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Punctuation Lesson

A few days ago, my friend Sara was over, and she and I were bemoaning the fact that people don't know how to properly use an apostrophe.  And by bemoaning, I mean making fun of people.  Sara runs a wicked-spectacular Etsy card shop (you can find it here - you're welcome) wherein she designs cards that people can purchase to suit their own special occasions.  Anyway, people will send her what they want their card to read.  And, oh the stories she has.  Our conversation was limited to improper usage of apostrophes, so this post will be limited specifically to that.  Now, friends this is a huge pet peeve of mine.  Almost as big as when people say 'I seen it."  What?!  WHAT?!  Or when people say 'acrossTTTT".  What?!  Please show me where the 't' is in across.  It's not there, people. 

(Breathe in...breathe out)

I digress.

So, I'm going to give you a few examples of incorrect apostrophe usage followed by the correct way.  Does this seem pedantic?  You bet it does.  And you're welcome.

Incorrect:
Merry Christmas! Love, The Parker's

There are two reasons this is wrong: 1.) There's probably more than one Parker, which means you should put the apostrophe after the s and 2.) You are not showing ownership.  Perhaps if you were to write Love, The Parkers' dog, you would be correct

Correct:
Merry Christmas! Love, The Parkers

or

Merry Christmas!  Love, The Parker Family

Incorrect:
I love the 80's.

Correct:
Nope. You love the 80s.

or

You love the eighties.

Incorrect:
I just bought a 92 Chrysler LeBaron.  It was Jon Voights' car.

Correct:
I just bought a '92 Chrysler LeBaron.  It was Jon Voight's car.  

(Bonus points if you can name the tv show I got this from ... or from which I got this.)

Incorrect:
I received all A's on my report card.

Except in English...

Correct:
I received all As on my report cards.  Does it look like a bad word...yes.  But plural nouns do not need an apostrophe (like houses, boxes).

**The only, ONLY time you would need an apostrophe between a letter or number and s is if the meaning is unclear...use SPARINGLY.

Incorrect:
I have three 5's in my cell number.

Correct:
I have three 5s in my cell number.

(**See note above)

Incorrect:
I just gave my two week's notice.

Correct:
I just gave my two weeks' notice.

 Okay, just a small lesson, but a needed one.  Now go out there and punctuate correctly. 

2 comments:

Matthew and Meagan said...

SEINFELD Episode no. 94 :)

Melissa Hoffman said...

oh i know you are complaining about me. I am THE worst at anything to do with punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Thank you for the lesson- I will work on it! :)