Apostrophe abuse


In the eyes of lovers of the English language, there’s a special place in hell for those who misuse apostrophes.

Apostrophe abuse includes:

  1. Using an apostrophe in front of the final ‘s’ in a plural word. We’ve all seen carrot’s for sale at the greengrocers, right? Interestingly, some apostrophe abusers only do this when the words ends in a long vowel – eg they write carrots but potato’s. Still incorrect but strangely useful as a guide to pronunciation!
  2. Using an apostrophe in the wrong place within a word – eg theyr’e. Criminal.
  3. Not using an apostrophe in a word which should have an apostrophe – eg I bought a bag of the greengrocers carrots.

The worst abusers seem to be just making wild guesses as to where to use apostrophes – eg I bought a bag of the greengrocers carrot’s. You can see them being singled out for special punishment in the image at the top of this post.

More on how to avoid being an apostrophe abuser

Thanks to the Public Domain Review for the image of a 14th-Century illumination for Dante’s Divine Comedy.