I’m not sure why misused apostrophes get under my craw so much, but something about them makes me want to scream into a pillow. Maybe it’s the way they hang up there, tagging along at the end of the word, making no sense whatsoever. Maybe it’s because they interrupt an otherwise useful plural. Maybe it’s because it’s the only punctuation mark that I completely understand. Whatever it is, I have trouble comprehending why apostrophes continue to astound the public so much that there’s even a Web site dedicated to its torture.
Let’s get one thing straight: When I talk about apostrophe abuse, I’m not talking about how to make a noun possessive when it already ends in an S [i.e.: Is it Chris’s telescope or Chris’ telescope? You be the judge.] I can see where that would raise an eyebrow. No, what confuses me is why people feel compelled to stick an apostrophe when there’s no possession at all. A plural word does not an apostrophe make, folks. [And yes, it’s FOLKS and not FOLK’S].
So when you find yourself publicly pluralizing something, remember these words of wisdom: The advertisement for your floral shop shouldn’t be MOM’S LOVE FLOWERS unless you’re selling love-flowers that belong to your mom.
Still confused? Discover the proper way to apostrophize.