I am admittedly a person who places a high value on the written words, and over the past decade I have worked hard to hone my skills as a writer. Still, when I come across most grammatical and spelling errors in the writing of other people, I usually pay no attention to such mistakes; after all, it has been only a few years since I have "arrived" as a writer.
And then there is the apostrophe.
Nothing brings me greater consternation as a reader than stumbling upon an improperly used apostrophe. I gnash my teeth, growl, and declare to the heavens that civilization as we know it is doomed unless people begin to grasp the relatively simple rules regarding apostrophe usage.
There are just three basic uses for the apostrophe in writing:
1. To form possesive nouns: "the boy's hat," "the dog's bone";Now, I recognize that there are a few issues related to apostrophes that can be confusing, like whether we should write "Jesus' disciples" or "Jesus's disciples" (go with the first). But I find there are many writers who feel a compulsion to use apostrophes every time they see the letter S:
2. To show the omission of letters: "don't run in the house," "three o'clock";
3. To form plurals of lowercase letters: "mind your p's and q's."
Barry ran outside to help bring in the pizza's and bottle's of pop.And the most abused apostrophe of all is without a doubt the insertion of this mark in the personal pronoun its: The dog lost its bone.
Sheila liked to play with her doll's, stuffed animal's, and crayon's.
It's can only mean one thing, the contraction form of "it is."
Yes, given the problems the human race faces, improper apostrophe usage must rank somewhere near the very bottom of the list, but if we all pull together as a team... (apologies to Pink Floyd).