The most common writing error: or, when to use an apostrophe

It’s a huge pet peeve of mine, and I see it everywhere. It’s the apostrophe. Not the apostrophe itself, but the use of it. And over the past few years, this particular use of it has gotten much, much worse.

When you are writing about something that is PLURAL, you use an “s” at the end of the word. For example: the dogs, the Flintstones (Fred Flintstone is one Flintstone), some flowers. There is no apostrophe when you pluralize a word. I see this particularly when people talk about a family group by name, such as the Smiths. You’ll note there still is no apostrophe.

(However, if a name ends in “s”, you would use an apostrophe, but not before the s, you would use it after: the Jones’ car.)

You do use an apostrophe when something is POSSESSIVE, or showing ownership of something, such as the child’s book, or the men’s shirts.

If you follow this simple rule, you’ll never pay big money for a full-page ad and end up with this:

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1 Comment

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One response to “The most common writing error: or, when to use an apostrophe

  1. Really useful tips ! My pet peeve is much like yours with the way people who I thought went to school use certain words interchangably (is that a word?) like there and their and worse, are and our…

    Have put you on my RSS feed so will be watchin’!

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