Grammar 101: Apostrophes

Class is now in session!!
Welcome back to Grammar 101...where I help the grammatically-challenged become proud Grammarians.

Last week, a fellow blogger mentioned that sometimes she finds apostrophes confusing and she tends to trip over them.  Well fear not my bloggy friend, for I shall help you conquer the Apostrophe monster!

Without seeming like Captain Obvious over here, what exactly is the apostrophe and how do we use this little bugger?

The Apostrophe is a punctuation mark that serves three purposes:
  1. The marking of possessive case.  Ex: That is Vanessa's notebook.
  2. The omission of one or more letters. Ex: As in contractions like do not to don't, etc.
  3. The marking as plural of written items that are not actually words established in English. Ex:  "Mind your P's and Q's."  or "My mom was born in the late 1950's."   This is considered incorrect by some, but its usage is allowed.  
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

How to use the Apostrophe
Joint Possession indicates a single item belonging to more than one person/noun. Ex: I enjoy reading Isalys and Vanessa’s blog.

Separate Possession indicates items belonging to more than one person/noun. Ex: I like to visit Isalys’s and Vanessa’s Goodreads pages. This example tells us that Isalys and Vanessa each have individual Goodreads accounts.

Singular Nouns (basic rule) indicates that you are referring to one item belonging to one person/noun. Ex: That is Vanessa’s notebook.

Plural Nouns (basic rule) indicates that there is no extra s needed when the noun in question is already plural and already ends with an -s. Ex: Those are the pens’ caps. (NOT those are the pens’s caps.)

There are also instances where the plural noun is not formed by adding an -s. In those cases, an -s is added for the possessive, after the apostrophe. Ex: That building belongs to the women’s clubhouse.

Possessive pronouns and adjectives: An apostrophe is NOT used with the following possessive pronouns: yours, his, hers, ours, its, their, and whose. Many people use it's for the possessive of it, but it's can be only a contraction of it is or it has.

All other possessive pronouns not ending in -s do take an apostrophe. Ex: one’s, everyone’s, somebody’s, etc. With Plural forms, the apostrophe FOLLOWS the -s, such as: the others' husbands.

Importance for disambiguation: Each of these four phrases (listed in Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct) has a distinct meaning:

• My sister's friend's investments (the investments belonging to a friend of my sister)
• My sister's friends' investments (the investments belonging to several friends of my sister)
• My sisters' friend's investments (the investments belonging to a friend of several of my sisters)
• My sisters' friends' investments (the investments belonging to several friends of several of my sisters)

An apostrophe is commonly used to indicate omitted characters, normally letters. Ex: It is used in contractions, such as can't from cannot, it's from it is or it has, and I'll from I will or I shall.

It is also used in abbreviations such as gov't for government.

It may also indicate omitted numbers where the spoken form is also capable of omissions, as '70s for 1970s representing seventies for nineteen-seventies.

*Phew* Now for the fun stuff!
Apostrophe Abuse
This bathroom must belong to just one girl. Anyone know who that girl is? Because I'll need to borrow her bathroom soon.

Oh Walmart, you give us so many reasons to make fun of you!  Seriously though, does spell-check not work in Oklahoma?

Uhm, an apostrophe would not be required would just be Old Navys because Old Navy is a proper noun.

If I can digress for just a moment and touch upon pluralization.
If the word has a vowel before the final -y then you just add an -s:
day  = days
turkey = turkeys
toy = toys

If the word has a consonant before the final -y then the plural ends with -ies:
 bully = bullies
quality = qualities
pantry = pantries

If the word has a consonant before the final -y, BUT the word is a proper noun (such as Old Navy), you add an -s without an apostrophe.

All this talk of apostrophes will segue nicely into contractions...we may cover that topic in the next lesson in two weeks!

Book Trailer: This Side of the Grave by J. Frost

This Side of the Grave
Book # 5 in the Night Huntress Series 
by Jeaniene Frost

Anger waits on both sides of the grave.
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .
With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Check out the awesome trailer for Bones & Cat adventure # 5 that Jeaniene herself help put together!

Who's ready for some more Bones?  We are!!!

*wiggles eyebrows*

New Releases 2.22.11

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Upgrade U by Ni-Ni Simone
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Happy Shopping and Happy Reading!

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