Apostrophe Decision Chart

After a recent Proof That blog post about apostrophes and plurals, I had someone ask the question about words that end in “s” and how you make those words possessive. As much as I see it done wrong and as many questions as I get regarding plurals vs. possessives, I know it is a difficult concept to grasp, so I introduce an Apostrophe Decision Chart! You just check the boxes that answer the question about what you’re trying to do and it will help you decide if your word is possessive and needs an apostrophe, is a plural, or just needs to be left alone. There are several articles and Grammar Giggles on Proof That blog about apostrophes, possessives, and plurals, including one of the very first blog posts “Apostrophail.” You can search proofthatblog.com in the search box on the right-hand side of the home page for other articles about apostrophes and other topics you may be struggling with. But for this Apostrophe Decision Chart, let me know if it helps you or if it just complicates things for you. Everyone learns differently and my hope is that this will help those who need it to have an easier time figuring out whether or not to use an apostrophe and then how to use the apostrophe if one is needed. The Apostrophe Decision Chart is located in the Files section of proofthatblog.com or click here.

“Apostrophe, Brunswick Centre, London WC1” by Kake . is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Grammar Giggle – Apostrophes and Plurals

This example illustrates my pet peeve–using apostrophes to make a word plural. This was in our local Motor Vehicle Division office where I was renewing my driver’s license. They used the apostrophe incorrectly not once, but twice! Let me say this again, louder for the people in the back: You do not use an apostrophe to make a word plural. You only need the letters “s” or “es” for that depending on the word. You use an apostrophe only for showing possession or in a contraction to show where a letter or letters have been left out. If you have questions about that, check out Astrophail!

Happy Presidents’ Day!

There is some discussion about the apostrophe for President’s/Presidents’/Presidents Day. Some say it is only to recognize the current sitting President, which would make it “President’s” Day. Others say the day doesn’t belong to any of the Presidents, so it doesn’t need an apostrophe at all, and I think the rest of them don’t know which way is correct, so they just put one where they always do just to make the darn word plural.

My thought is that it is a national holiday designated to recognize all of the U.S. Presidents, so since the word Presidents is plural, you just need an apostrophe to show that the holiday belongs to all of the Presidents. Just remember to look at the base word without changing anything first. Is it singular? Is it plural? Then decide how you will make it possessive. There is more about that topic here.

Grammar Giggle – Oh What A Difference Punctuation Makes

A reader sent this picture to me from her local Wendy’s. Just looking at this sign, apparently, they have already filled all their positions because they WERE hiring, but now they’re not. If they are currently looking, it should be WE’RE (contraction for “we are”) hiring. Obviously, Wendy’s knows how to use apostrophes since it is part of their name.

Grammar Giggle – Gentleman’s Club

Sorry fellas. It looks like this special club is for only one gentleman at a time. Otherwise, it would be a “gentlemen’s” club. I found this one on my Bar Rescue marathon recently. I particularly liked that Jon Taffer, the star of the show, mentioned that it was misspelled. Now whether he knew that or one of the people working behind the scenes mentioned it, I don’t know, but they did and it caught my attention. When making a word possessive, start with the correct root word. In this case, since the club is for gentlemEn, it should be a gentlemen’s club. And it SHOULD have an apostrophe!

Grammar Giggle – Barbie’s

This was a picture I took of a Christmas gift for my youngest granddaughter. It highlights the improper use of an apostrophe. What exactly belongs to Barbie? Or are you talking about more than one Barbie? Perhaps you’re talking about 20 Barbies? If this had said 20 Barbies and Barbie’s accessories, then the apostrophe in the second “Barbie” would be correct because you’re talking about accessories belonging to Barbie. As it is here, the apostrophe is incorrect because you’re talking about 20 Barbies so it is plural NOT possessive.

Barbies2