Grammatical pet peeves

I’d like to think I’m a relatively easy-going person. I can usually brush off routine frustrations – slow drivers, giant bugs that like to dive bomb my face, the fact that my dogs can’t seem to stay house trained for more than a week. I had a problem with people chewing ice a few years ago, but I’m over it, I swear. I only twitch once, rather than so many successive times that I fall out of my chair and lie on the floor like some spastic beetle.

I can’t, however, seem to get past the rampant misuse of apostrophes. Every time I see a word made possessive when it is supposed to be plural, I die a little inside. Oh, the cow’s are this way. The cow’s what? Pasture? Spots? Gross and smelly but undoubtedly useful for fertilizer patties? I don’t know why someone would willingly advertise cow patties, but who am I to judge? Though whatever way it’s presented, it still doesn’t smell good.

Condo’s for rent. T shirt’s, $10 each. Unless you’re renting out the condo’s bathroom and selling only the t shirt’s sleeves, put the apostrophe down and step away slowly, please. If you are discussing something that belongs to someone or something (Paul’s dog; The condo’s kitchen), then the apostrophe is your friend. Embrace it, for it denotes possession. The dog belongs to Paul, so it is Paul’s dog. Don’t take away Paul’s dog – it’s all he has.

The way to make a noun plural? Add an s. That’s it. (And the apostrophe in the previous sentence is used to create a contraction of ‘that is.’ Totally grammatically correct.) Just beware of misusing the apostrophe, for it is a fickle friend. With sick ninja skills. So refrain from adding an apostrophe when making something plural, and your physical wellbeing is safe. And my twitching will be kept to a minimum, and little kids will be less tempted to run away in terror. Which is just better for everyone.



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2 responses to “Grammatical pet peeves

  1. Thanks for this entertaining take on the excessive use of apostrophes. I’m always horrified when I see it used to create plurals (though I make an exception for the Oakland A’s), especially when the error is committed by a professional writer.

  2. Jess

    Tell me you’ve read “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves!” It’ll truly make your day.

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