Friday, February 20, 2009

Editorial Pet Peeves... How Do You Use an Apostrophe?

Don't damage the "meachandise". Bad things can happen.

I've been seeing more and more writing by folks who are unclear on the use and purpose of an apostrophe.

Because our schools don't seem to be teaching English grammar and composition any more, I thought that maybe I should help out by discussing this problem here--and providing examples.

The easiest way to remember this is:

it's = it is
its = possessive pronoun (does not need an apostrophe)

they're = they are
their = possessive pronoun (does not need an apostrophe)
there = locational adverb that modifies the "being verb" (does not need an apostrophe)

Obvious personal pronouns that do not need an apostrophe include "his" and "hers" ... the personal pronoun of the same form for a neuter referent is "its" ...


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