My friends christened me Grammar Girl many years ago. They reckon she’s my superhero alter-ego – “Saving the world one apostrophe at a time.” I am renowned for being a Grammar Nazi, even going so far as to spell out words in text messages! I spent some time yesterday on Authonomy checking out other writers’ work and was amazed at the amount of bad grammar and spelling. And this is coming from people who consider themselves professionals! Sigh…
Even if people would remember just the three following rules it would be a good start:
1. Plurals do not take apostrophes. Examples: the plural of CD is CDs, the plural of day is days, the plural of hotel is hotels, you get the picture.
2. “It’s” means it is. “Its” means belonging to it.
3. Possessive apostrophes are simpler than most people think. When the owner of the thing is singular, then the apostrophe goes before the “s”. When the owner of the thing is plural, the apostrophe goes after the “s”. So if one boy has many hats you would write “the boy’s hats”. If many boys own many hats you would write “the boys’ hats”.
What about you? Any grammar bugbears? Anything you’d like to rant about? Or anything you’re not sure about and would like clarification on? I will do my best to help but I always consult the Guardian Style Guide (find them on Twitter here) if I’m really stuck.
(Of course I reckon that despite my best efforts, this post might be an unwitting victim of Muphry’s Law. I’m sure someone will let me know if so!)