I’m back in Ft. Benning for my cousin’s graduation from basic training, so I thought I’d give you something random for your Friday.
Oh, the apostrophe. The most misunderstood punctuation mark in history (other than maybe semicolons). The internet, including the personal finance blogosphere, is full of apostrophe abuse. And it makes me sad.
Apostrophes do not make words plural. That’s not why they exist. For example:
- You eat tacos, not taco’s.
- You have kids, not kid’s.
- When I sign Christmas cards, they are from the Whitmers, not the Whitmer’s.
- If you have more than one penny, you have pennies, not penny’s. (Actual example I saw on a PF blog this week.)
Apostrophes show possession. Like this:
- The taco’s seasoning tasted a little stale. (Because the seasoning belongs to the taco.)
- My kid’s shoes are untied. (Because the shoes belong to the kid)
- Andrea Whitmer’s blog is annoying. (Because the blog belongs to me.)
- The penny’s shine is starting to wear off. (Because the shine belongs to the penny.)
Apostrophes can also be used to form contractions. The apostrophe is used to replace the letters you take out. Like this:
- Cannot = can’t
- Would have = would’ve (NOT would of)
- Do not = don’t
Its and It’s
Easy rule for deciding whether to use its or it’s – “It’s” means “It is.” Every single time. The end.
If you’re saying it is, you use the apostrophe to replace the missing letter. Wow, it’s hot outside today.
If you’re talking about something that belongs to an object, don’t use the apostrophe. The snake shed its skin.
Your and You’re
You’re = you are. You’re talking about apostrophes too much.
Your = belonging to you. Your shoes are awesome – where did you get them?
Fight Apostrophe Abuse!
Apostrophe is a serious problem that plagues our entire planet, especially the online world. When you’re typing something, take a few seconds to think before you touch that apostrophe key. Do you really need that apostrophe? If you’re not sure, leave it out – chances are, you don’t need it!
An apostrophe does NOT mean, “Look out – here comes an S!”
People judge you when you type or write words like “potato’s” or “martini’s.” I judge you. So please, do your part to stop apostrophe abuse. We may never be able to eradicate it completely, but you can help by pledging to use apostrophes appropriately or not at all. It really does start with you.