Wednesday, November 21, 2007

English Lesson #1- the Apostrophe

Just like I hate misspelled words (especially on menus, publications and billboards), I hate apostrophe misuse and other punctuation errors. So, I have decided to take us back to the 3rd grade. Let's review:

An apostrophe is either POSSESSIVE or it takes the place of a letter when combining two words which creates a CONTRACTION.


In case your vocabulary is also rusty, "possessive" means that something possesses something else, for example:

•Nicole's underwear (they are MY underwear, I possess them.)

•Jason Statham's naked body (it is Jason Statham's naked body, HE possesses it.... I'll keep the personal comments to myself.)

•my friends' beer (the beer is the possession of my friends which is plural. Note how the plural apostrophe goes AFTER the "s" and how another "s" is NOT added after the apostrophe in this case?)

Possessive pronouns (such as yours, hers, its, and ours) take NO apostrophe.
•I believe these underwear are yours. (NOT: I believe these underwear are your's. Your's is not a word.)


The apostrophe is also used to replace omitted letters in contractions.

you are = you're (apostrophe replaces the "a")
•You are totally hot.
•You're totally hot.

But your is possessive:
•Are these your underwear?

it's/its (This one is the worst, I see it everywhere.)
It's is a contraction for it is. It's is NEVER a possessive!
•It is almost Thanksgiving.
•It's almost Thanksgiving.

But Its is the possessive for it.
•The tree has lost its leaves. (the leaves are/were the possession of the tree.)

The apostrophe NEVER designates the plural form of a noun!
•How many days are left in George's term? (NOT: How many day's are left in George's term?)

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At 9:35 PM, November 21, 2007, Blogger Kate said...

LOVE this post! Happy Thanksgiving!

At 1:05 PM, November 24, 2007, Blogger Webly said...

If you're into podcasting you should check out Grammar Girl!
You two could be best friends!

At 9:41 AM, November 25, 2007, Blogger amy said...

nicole, i think we might have been twins separated at birth...


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