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The Needless Extra Apostrophe Ditty

I’m not a punctuation and grammar-basher. I understand that some people are verbal communicators and have less comfort with, or less need/wish to use, the written word than others. I know that different types of dyslexia make it difficult to remember rules about writing and I also know that bad teaching or other hurdles to our written work do not equal lack of intelligence. So… not being perfect myself, I overlook a lot of unintentional errors and, even though it makes me twitch, I forgive such things as incorrectly writing you’re as ‘your’ and forgetting where apostrophes go. I often find an extra apostrophe in ‘its’ when I don’t want one because computers and phones put them in for you when you’re not looking. Most things are understandable even when peppered with mistakes and if we’re too snotty we put people off writing, taking on jobs that involve writing and cause all sort of hang-ups, insecurities and make bright people feel stupid. So I try to be relaxed and point out to my son that he should have spelt ‘their’ ‘there’ on a facebook status update. I don’t have to do this with my 17-year-old – her spelling and grammar are better than mine. She has a photographic memory. It’s just a difference in the way their brains retain and organise information. It’s unfair to make a big fuss about it.


When someone goes out of their way to PUT an apostrophe in where it’s not needed, all my tolerance and understanding goes out of the window. Why go get an apostrophe? Why? Why? Why deliberately stick an extra blob into a word that doesn’t need it?
‘I put the bins out this morning’ There you go – a plural. Makes sense.
‘I put the bin’s out this morning’ You what?!!! The bin’s what? Are the bins a family that live in the same street as us and you put their bins out for them? In which case I think you mean you put ‘The Bins’ bins out this morning.’

So. To help everyone out there who is struggling to make The Needless Extra Apostrophe Nation see sense, I’ve made up a “catchy” little ditty for the kids. I hope you like it.

Don’t put apostrophes in plurals
If in doubt don’t bother using one
Don’t put apostrophes in plurals
Unless you’re talking about something belonging to a group – like ladies’ men’s and children’s toilets.
Don’t put apostrophes in plurals
But you can put one in if you’ve missed out some letters
Don’t put apostrophes in plurals
Or I’ll rip off your head and crap down your neck.

Or how about:
Thirty days hath September and none of them hath a bleedin’ apostrophe!

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nat #

    That’s one catchy little ditty, Rach! As I’m quite fond of my head, I shall make every effort never to misuse apostrophe’s in you’re presence!


  2. Damn! Nat beat me to it!


  3. m #



  4. I will not use a single apostrophe in this reply as I am rather fond of my head and hate anything touching my neck.
    It is late, I am watching Newsnight and the Budget analysis, which has now become irrelevant as I can’t stop laughing.
    Hilarious post.



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