How to magically use the apostrophe like a boss

I miss teaching, miss it so much that whilst Cumberbatch struts his stuff as Sherlock, I blog about the apostrophe.

Dedicated, that’s my middle name.

I’m doing this as a freebie, as a global favour, passing on years of experience with the apostrophe to the madding crowd online.

Okay, why does apostrophe misuse annoy and amuse me in equal measure?

It annoys me because it’s quite a simple thing to master (in my opinion) and amuses me as I’m a member of the grammar police. Greengrocer apostrophe misuse is still rife and I do wonder whether when they decided selling bananas, potatoes or kumquats was their chosen career path, they had to fail an apostrophe test before a fruit and veg. licence was issued.

So here’s three simple bullet points outlining the rules of apostrophes with some examples – feel free to share, print and memorise and this advice is free – I’m sure people would pay pennies for this, if I cannily marketed my advice.

RULE 1: possession – we all know it’s nine tenths of the law but it’s arguably the most important aspect of the humble apostrophe. That little comma floating between letters is vital for showing possession. In no way are the examples below propaganda or keyword stuffed.

  • Stuart’s freelance writing tips are so excellent.
  • This is Stuart’s copywriting website.
  • Stuart’s two children are called James and Ruby. James’s (or James’) dad is an exceptional writer.

RULE 2: omission – to show missing letters in words or phrases:

  • You’d better hurry and book my freelance writing services.
  • You can’t write like that – ask Stuart for SEO copywriting tips.
  • I’d love to marry WordPress.

RULE 3: to structure unusual words:

  • A list of do’s and don’ts from Get Pro Copy (Stuart’s excellent freelance writing website).
  • bcc’d an email to all the people who would benefit from copywriting.

So, please mind your p’s and q’s, watch out for missing letters and don’t get caught out in possession – by abusing apostrophes.

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