Apostrophe Apoplexy

To editors, superfluous apostrophes are a blot on the grammatical landscape. While apostrophes are necessary to indicate possession and construct contractions, please don’t use them willy-nilly. There are rules! And they are pretty easy to follow:

Do use an apostrophe with plurals of single letters: Mind your p’s and q’s. I got two A’s on my report card.

Do NOT use an apostrophe for plurals of multiple-letter combinations: The CEOs are meeting today. I gave her five IOUs.

Do NOT use an apostrophe for plurals of figures: There are four 727s in the fleet. The temperature is in the low 50s. The 1980s were filled with neon.

Ignore The New York Times’ incorrect use of an apostrophe in decades: It’s 1960s, not 1960’s, unless you are claiming ownership on behalf of that single year. I also suggest you ignore The Times’ crazy use of ’s after s (Times’s — no!). We all learned in elementary school that is just plain wrong.

And for the love of G-d, do NOT use an apostrophe to make a poor unsuspecting word plural. Just add the s, no apostrophe. Really.

To be specific: If you absolutely must put a sign on your house announcing your family name, don’t use an apostrophe: The Hauptmans, NOT The Hauptman’s (if you are feeling super-possessive, you may put an apostrophe AFTER the s, indicating the house belongs to the family — as in The Hauptmans’ House — but NEVER before).

P.S. Its is possessive: The posse lost its way. It’s is a contraction for it is: It’s now or never. Think of the apostrophe as a leftover from the dot of the i.

Welcome to INK blog

At long last, I have joined the blogosphere. I have vehemently avoided doing so until now, determined to evade the inherent responsibility and pressure. You must blog constantly and be fascinating all the time, I thought. But recently, as I was working with a client on her soon-to-be-published website and companion blog, I realized you can have a blog and post to it only when you feel like doing so: weekly, monthly, even yearly. No promises are required, I realized. I don’t have to be fascinating all the time — though it does give me the opportunity to be fascinating … sometimes, I hope. As wiser folks than I have said: “You gotta be in it to win it.” And as my sweet husband told me one year as we were watching the Academy Awards, and I was saying (whining) that I really, really wanted to win an award and give an acceptance speech: “But, honey, you weren’t in anything this year.”

Well, I’m in it.