OF ALL THE bits of punctuation roaming the English language, surely the apostrophe is having the least amount of fun. I’m willing to bet it’s downright depressed.
Exclamation points are out there having a blast, being used and abused by people of all ages, especially in texts by young people, and even more especially, my blog!!!!!! Quotation marks are also quite busy, with everyone trying to avoid being sued for plagiarism. And, of course, the ubiquitous period reigns supreme, showing up everywhere. Like here. And here. And here, too. (Even an idiot knows how to use a period. And, BTW, parentheses.)
Conversely, the apostrophe is completely misunderstood by even smart people!!!!!!!! This morning a woman who I know has a college education wrote on Facebook, under a photo of the California firefighters, “These are the real hero’s!” The blatant misuse of what looks like an out-of-place comma made me sigh deeply, roll my eyes and wonder why. It most definitely did not make me roll my eye’s!
Come on people, concentrate! It’s easy (not its easy)! Here you go:
An apostrophe is a mark ‘ used to indicate the omission of letters or figures, the possessive case (as in “John’s book”), or the plural of letters or figures, as in “the 1960’s.
That’s it! As in, that is it! (Not thats’ it!)
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.