Archive for the ‘SpellingSlipups’ Category

Say what?

We did a little research on apostrophe use in Mother’s Day and Father’s Day messages floating around cyberspace and …

Mom’s win!

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)
  • Happy Mothers Day to all those amazing Mom’s out there 🙂
  • … happy mother’s day to all d mom’s of d Boston celtics lol! (this one needs some Capitalization help, too)
  • Thank You, Yeah Us Mom’s Do Rock.
  • Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s to Mom’s everywhere! (incorrect, unless his mother is omnipresent)
  • Happy Mother’s DAy to all tha mom’s n soon to b mom’s out there uu deserve it (this one needs some spelling help, too)

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 We heartily disagree with this usage — we feel that this practice is outdated.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:

CD-s and DVD-s



Grammar Book’s Apostrophe Rules:

  1. Use the apostrophe with contractions.
  2. Use the apostrophe to show possession.
  3. Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.
  4. Use the apostrophe to show plural possession.
  5. Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name. * (We have some people in mind who need to learn this rule!)
  6. Use the apostrophe with a singular compound noun, to show possession.
  7. Use the apostrophe with a plural compound noun, to show possession.
  8. Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.
  9. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose.
  10. 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.
  11. The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes. *
  12. Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).
  13. 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

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We present, in tribute to our friends over at Apostrophe Abuse, Apostrophe Catastrophes, Apostrophism, and of course Apostrophe Police, the following  …

  • From the Viewing Guide on our Time Warner Cable screen … umbrella’s … really?

  • Guess we should say that … Stand In’s … are from the … credit’s … in the TV show … The Kennedy’s … ???

So, what is it with this tendency to apostrophize plurals? We don’t get it. Do you?

  • Finally, in today’s tribute, we’re still lookin’ for the missin’ apostrophe in this … Surfin … sign.

This is just another example of apostrophailure.

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We have been asked several times where we stand on this controversy … you know, the old rule: “i before e, except after c.”

i before e

Ever since the news came out that Britain would forego teaching this rule … (click here to read the news item) … we’ve been ducking the question.

At first, we thougt, “how could they?” … only because we have quite an affinity for grammar rules and helpful tips. Then, we got to thinking (always a dangerous proposition) … That led us to do some research. 

Our number one self-assigned task was to find the exceptions to this rule, that is, those words that, when spelled correctly, have an i before an e after a c. The results were astonishing …

Our search returned 364 words with a correct “… c-i-e …” sequence. Granted, the list includes multiple tenses of several words, plurals (using “…cies”), past tense (using “…cied”), and some words that we would swear are not real (or English, for that matter), however, here are a few notables:

  • science, society, ancient, species, conscience, glacier, efficient, sufficient, coefficient, deficiency.

Next, we looked back for those words that actually fit the rule, in which, after c, the e comes before the i … and we found this to be even more astonishing–that there are so few. Our search led to only 134 entries, with such standouts as:

  • ceiling, deceive, receive, perceive, conceit

The remainder of this list seemed to be filled out with variations on those few.

So, the position we held before Britain’s choice made the news, is now shattered, but we do like the new rule that we read about … “i before e, except when it isn’t.”

For more, take a gander through the great article about this on the always wonderful World Wide Words.

Therefore, instead of breaking from Britain and establishing our independence on this topic, we do hereby bow.

Happy Independence Day, America!

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Spelling correctly is important! Especially in this day of key word searches. Getting it right is worth the extra effort of using a “spell check” program or even — remember this — a dictionary.

We found this error in a job posting on the Internet. We’re wondering how many candidates will miss and be missed because of this unfortunate error.

“Bankructy Case Manager”


(click here to see the real ad)

So, this leads us to a poll …

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