A is for Apostrophes

I DO use the apostrophe when it would be otherwise confusing, such as with plural letters.

greedy3-330Recently, I was watching this news show on ABC-TV (US) featuring a bunch of talking heads. A feature has a couple of Picks of the Week from each participant, a noteworthy story. That week included Democratic strategist James Carville; the overlay showed JAME’S PICK.

I wanted to scream. The one thing you NEVER do with an apostrophe is break up someone’s name ending in S just before that letter.

One doesn’t visit the JONE’S house, one visits the JONES’ house, or the JONES’S house, depending on your school of thought on this. If you’re unclear, you visit the JONES family and avoid the apostrophe altogether.

I’m convinced that it is the use of the apostrophe that creates the bulk of spelling errors in the United States. There are road signs with ONION’S FOR SALE, when the plural doesn’t need an apostrophe at all.

Here’s an interesting bit from WikiHow:

Know how to use apostrophes for acronyms and years. Say you use an acronym for a noun, like CD. To make CD plural, use “CDs,” not CD’s.” The same logic goes for years — instead of writing “Spandex was popular in the 1980’s,” use “1980s.”

I totally agree, but my spellcheck doesn’t like CDs or 1980s; it prefers CD’s and 1980’s! Oy.

Moreover, I DO use the apostrophe when it would be otherwise confusing, such as with plural letters: “I got 4 A’s and two B’s on my report card.” Sans apostrophe, A’s looks like the word As.

A lot of confusion comes from the recognition of a possessive. There are lots of websites that explain this better than I, such as The Oatmeal and Scribendi.

THE most common error, of course, involves it’s and its, and it’s somewhat understandable. Possessive nouns take an apostrophe: THE GOAT’S FUR; possessive pronouns do not: ITS FUR. The word IT’S is a contraction, meaning IT IS. I see this particular error SO often, even in newspapers and magazines, that I despair of it ever being truly understood.

And I know why, per Henry Hitchings, though disputed by HistoriAnn:

[H]ere’s the rub: say any of these names aloud and you’ll be struck by the fact that the apostrophe works on the eye rather than the ear. Simply put, we don’t hear apostrophes, and this is a significant factor accounting for the inconsistency with which they are used.

You grammar buffs, and I count myself in your number: IS it a lost cause?

ABC Wednesday – Round 16

September Ramblin’


There was this woman named Dottie Rambo, an American gospel singer, musician, and writer of over 2500 songs, who died a couple of years ago in a motor vehicle accident. I mention this because in her obit in an Italian online news publication, the accompanying picture is NOT Dottie Rambo. Who is it? Dottie’s given name was Joyce. There is a librarian friend of mine named Joyce Rambo, still alive, BTW; it is HER picture that graces the Italian obit, not Dottie’s.

A record producer plays the entire Beatles catalog on the ukulele; this video is only a sample.

The Apostrophe Song. For those who know the difference between it’s and its or you’re and your, and grimace when they see her’s. And especially for those who dont. I mean, don’t.

Playing for Change, Episode 34: Raghuvamsa Sudha. What do the letters in music stand for?

Vanessa’s wedding reception surprise. I HAD to post this because this IS my second favorite musical, after West Side Story. More about the couple.

Librarians will survive budget cuts.

NCC-1701 Pizza Cutter for your favorite Star Trek fan. And the video.

Star Wars TV Intro (Hawaii Five-O Version)
Star Wars TV Intro (Dallas Version)

And speaking of Dallas: Only one of the reasons I hate the Dallas Cowboys.

America Is a Joke article about Jon Stewart. “The worst of times for politics and media has been the best of times for The Daily Show’s host—and unfortunately things are getting even funnier.”

How to quit your job. OK, so it was just acting.

Did Christine O’Donnell make this PSA?


Are You a Comic-Con Dork?

“1,002 theatrical cartoons were produced by the legendary Warner Brothers animation studio in its heyday. This video, which is about the length of one of those cartoons, purports to feature one frame from each of those 1,002 cartoons.” Plus several iterations of the song The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down; if you’ve watched Bugs Bunny or his pals, you KNOW this song.

Explaining Fair Use Using Disney Characters. Not every use of copyrighted material is disallowed.

Disney Epic Mickey Mouse. Love the visuals.

Katy Perry Spoofs Canceled ‘Sesame Street’ Appearance on ‘SNL’, with a link to the original duet with Elmo

You may be familiar with the fact that Hollywood’s making a film about Facebook. Now, the Twitter movie.

Ken Levine says: They must really be out of stars for the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

The FOR COLORED GIRLS trailer from Tyler Perry. Looks intense. My sister read the book, but I never did.

Finally, Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, who I must admit I never heard of. “Danny Glover and Edward Asner, co-chairs of ‘Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5’ made a call to their colleagues in the United States inviting them to add their name to a letter to President Obama encouraging him to issue an Executive Clemency order on behalf of the Cuban 5.

“A significant number of well-known actors and artists who responded to the call” include Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Pete Seeger, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Haskell Wexler, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Elliott Gould, and Esai Morales.