We did a little research on apostrophe use in Mother’s Day and Father’s Day messages floating around cyberspace and …
By far, there were more mistake’s for Mother’s than there were foul up’s for Father’s … (of course, our apostrophe abuse is intentional here).
We thought you might get a chuckle at some of our findings, so, here you go:
- Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely Mom’s!
- … wishing all the Mommy’s I know a Happy Mothers Day!! (this one could have just moved the mark to Mothers)
- We have to celebrate our mama’s by the way…
- … can’t wait to have dinner at moms house. (now, this one needs an apostrophe)
Therefore, today’s punctuation concentration is on avoiding that embarassing apostrophe catastrophe …
To start, let’s define this little character:
apostrophe. noun. a mark of punctuation ( ‘ )used to indicate possessive case or omission of one or more letter(s) from a word.
You may see some sources state that the apostrophe is also used for indicating plurals of abbreviations, acronyms and symbols. We heartily disagree with this usage — we feel that this practice is outdated.
We do like Grammar Book’s baker’s dozen of Rules for Apostrophes, so we’ll refer you to their site for the full details and just give you a summary here, with one addition from us:
Our Apostrophe Rule:
0. Do not use an apostrophe to form a plural. This goes for words, symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms. * (This is related to Rules 5. – names, and 11. – CAPS & numbers used as nouns, below, but more encompassing.)
* Here are examples of misuse according to our rule:
Grammar Book’s Apostrophe Rules:
- Use the apostrophe with contractions.
- Use the apostrophe to show possession.
- Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.
- Use the apostrophe to show plural possession.
- Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name. * (We have some people in mind who need to learn this rule!)
- Use the apostrophe with a singular compound noun, to show possession.
- Use the apostrophe with a plural compound noun, to show possession.
- Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.
- Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose.
- The only time an apostrophe is used for it’s is when it is a contraction for it is or it has. (Remember, “its” is a possessive pronoun – no apostrophe.) See photo below.
- The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes. *
- Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).
- If the gerund has a pronoun in front of it, use the possessive form of that pronoun. (Refer to Rule 9. re: pronouns.)
Speaking of rules … we like this … from Trevor Coultart:
Should be its.
Sources: GrammarBook.com, Flickr