What is an apostrophe and when is it used? Well, first of all the character is a raised comma. So it is (or it’s) NOT a foot mark!
The use of an apostrophe is often misused. Most noticeably by sign makers. I often see the errant apostrophe on my travels. I will post more pictures as I come across them.
I don’t want to you to think I am Mr Cockyboots especially as I left school with a Grade 4 CSE English back in the 70’s. So there is not a lot to be cocky about!
This is my take on the use of apostrophes. They are often over used; but whilst the rules are quite straightforward there are some anomalies in the rules.
Apostrophes are used to indicate a possessive nature of someone or something and to show when a letter or letters are missing e.g. Martin’s hat is owned by Martin and it’s quite a nice one.
There is a problem already because when you talk about an “it”, “it” doesn’t (does not) have an apostrophe when IT has a hat! e.g. It lost its hat! We can forgive this rule break as it could be confused with the other “it’s”.
Hang on a minute! “…especially as I left school with a Grade 4 CSE English back in the 70’s so there is not a lot to be cocky about!” Did you miss that one? Is there something missing or is 70 possessive? No! So it is plural as years of the 70s.
Acronyms should not have apostrophes.
MOT’s? It’s plural so no apostrophe. So it should be MOTs. using a lowercase ‘s’ helps the reader. What does it own or is something missing?
I was travelling along Shurdington Road, near Cheltenham when I noticed the road sign “No HGV’s”. I remember thinking how sad I am to keep noticing these errors. A few months later I saw that someone had added an ‘X’ using tape over the apostrophe. I was comforted to know that I was not alone. Although, I don’t think I would have gone to the trouble of adding the ‘X’.
There are some occasions where an apostrophe is used to help the reader although technically it should not be there.
The other confusion I had was when I was told at school that, Leamas, the main Character in “The spy who came in from the cold”, was to have an apostrophe after his ‘s’ when he owned something. i.e. Leamas’ shoes and not Leamas’s shoes. How confused was I when I saw Banks’s Bitter. In fact both are correct.
The sign at a door saying “Over 18’s Bar”. Over 18s equals lots of 18 year olds. Over 18’s Bar is the Bar for over AN 18 year old person, so it should be “Over 18s’ Bar”. Perhaps easier to say “Over 18s Only”
The job of the typesetter is to make the words on the page easy to follow by using space, style and size. Rules can be broken; but it’s best to know the rules before you break them.
Opening or Closing?
Class of ’94 refers to the Class of 1994. A closing apostrophe or opening apostrophe? Something is missing, namely the number 19, so it’s the same one that is used in it’s, closing. What about the King ‘n’ Queen? Often an opening and closing is used as it may look neater or symetrical. Nope. They are showing the missing two letters. Both opening ones please! : )
Apostrophes or not can be quite confusing; but if in doubt leave it off.
Remember: Apostrophes are used when it is possessive (owned by) or if something is missing.
So these are wrong . . .
Pictures to follow . . pop back! : )