I‘ve been asked by a few people to do a quick post on apostrophes or as I’ve heard it put by kids at my son’s school, “that comma that floats up there at the top.” *drags out her Remedial English soap box and hops on up*
The apostrophe is one of the most misused punctuation marks out there. Correctly, it’s used to show a contraction, possesion, and (though I just avoid it myself) the plural of lower case letters.
Don’t you want to pod him? This is the contration of do not. These are relatively simple and I rarely see these bungled. This is the main job of an apostrophe. I even like to use two in words like sha’n’t, though it is antiquated and almost never used now (What?? I like pretending I’m old and British!).
Mynxee’s Cynabal has a sexy paintjob! This is a correct use of possession and for the most part, this concept is pretty easy. The tricky part is when it becomes involved. However, you can avoid a mistake by remembering the apostrophe’s original job: showing a contraction. It’s is a contraction meaning it is. When you want to show that it possesses, you leave out the apostrophe all together. The Cynabal has a steamy shot of Roc Wieler on its hull.
I made sure to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. It is correct to show the plural of LOWER CASE letters with an apostrophe. However, as I said, I prefer avoiding this and use the upper case instead.
An apostrophe is NOT used to show plural numbers, acronyms, or upper case letters.
I love the 80’s. I love the ’80s!
POS’s take too long to kill! POSes take too long to kill! (Keep in mind you still use an apostrophe to show possesion here: a POS’s guns.)
I left out the E’s in my letter. I left out the Es in my letter.
There you have it. Follow my rules and we’ll get along famously. Break them and I’ll talk about you behind your back.