Monday, August 15, 2016

Apostrophe abuse...

Today's post is probably going to seem somewhat silly to some readers.  It's something that I just have to get off my chest, though.  Why, oh WHY, can't people learn how to use apostrophes correctly?  It seems like the longer people have been online, the less able they are to write their own language.  Lately, I've noticed people misusing apostrophes at an alarming rate.  It's not just happening online, either.

Just today, a friend of mine posted a picture of a public restroom.  Painted on the wall above the doors was a blue sign that read "Restroom's".  My friend, being a witty sort, noted that "Restroom's are for apostro-peeing!"  I can giggle at that observation.  I only wonder if the person responsible for painting the sign understands the function of apostrophes.  Apostrophes are often used to show possession.

Basically, the sign that reads "Restroom's" indicates that the restroom possesses something.  But what?  Sadly, the sign doesn't say.  We're left wondering.  What does the restroom possess?  Well, let's see.  I would expect to find poop, pee, dirty tissues, and menstrual debris in a restroom.  However, the sign leaves us hanging, much like a dingleberry.

You might say, "The restroom's toilets are overflowing."  You wouldn't use an apostrophe to make a plural, as the person who painted the sign did.

Apostrophes are also used for contractions.  This seems to be where people have the most trouble.  How many times has someone incorrectly used "it's" when they really mean "its"?  I think it's because "its" also is possessive, while "it's" is a contraction.  When you write "it's", you are actually saying "it is", as in "It's cold outside."  When you write "its", a lot of times, you're expressing possession.  For instance, "The dog licks its foot."

I know this is kind of a silly post.  With all the problems in the world, why can't I find a topic that is more of consequence to the average reader?  These kinds of mistakes are just annoying to me, especially when I am an overeducated and unemployed housewife.  I figure the painter had one job.

Ah well.  For more on the rules regarding apostrophes, please have a look here.  You never know when it might pay off to brush up on your grammar skills.


  1. We're all allowed to have pet peeves, grammatical or otherwise.


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