Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Little Grammar Lesson

We all have pet peeves. One of mine is the use - and misuse - of the apostrophe ('). It REALLY irks me when people put an apostrophe in a plain old PLURAL noun. Didn't we learn this in grade school? An apostrophe is generally used for contractions. (I didn't, can't, and shouldn't misuse apostrophes!) Or to show possession. (Jen's opinion is that more people should take grammar lessons seriously.)

Granted, there are exceptions to nearly every rule in the English language. Hers is not an opinion to mess with! (Caught that one, eh?!)

The first time I remember seeing this mistake was about 15 years ago. A group of us were given little thank-you gifts from three families. These families (or really, the wife in each family) had signed their family's name as "From the Smith's, Jones's and Carter's!" Although the names in that quote were changed to protect the guilty, you understand my point. These are plurals (each family had more than one person involved), but were NOT implying ownership.

Over the years, or maybe because it irks me more and more, I notice this mistake everywhere. Let's practice this a bit, just to make sure we've got it correct.

INCORRECT: Computer's have hard drives. SOP's exist to help me deal with a crap-load of useless work file's to be deleted.

CORRECT: Computers have hard drives. My computer's hard drive is nearly full. My office has a set of SOPs that tell me which files should be kept and passed on to the new person after I leave.

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