I saw this sign recently on a TikTok and couldn’t resist. This is a very common error. Just remember that “your” is something belonging to YOU, while “you’re” is a contraction for YOU ARE. Replace the word in question with “you are” and you’ll see that that is the one that works. Unless, of course, you are talking about the nuts that belong to you–which doesn’t make any sense. LOL!
A friend sent this to me. They got it correct in one place, but not in another on the same sign. Perhaps they were out of the letter “e” or perhaps they just weren’t paying attention. In this sign, both should be “you’re,” the contraction for “you are.”
My brother sent this to me from a local newspaper remembering a drive-in theatre in Mesa. “It’s” is one of those words that does not follow the normal possession rules. The only time to use “it’s” is as a contraction of “it is.” If “it” owns something, it is simply “its.”
Plus, if you are talking about decades, they got it right the second time–the last two numerals of the decade, no apostrophe, and “s.” You wouldn’t spell it out once and then use numerals once.
Finally, “til” isn’t a word. It should be “until.” However, Merriam Webster and the Urban Dictionary disagree and say that “’til” is a contraction for “until,” but not in formal writing. That means that even though this wouldn’t be considered “formal” writing, this example is still incorrect since there is no apostrophe to indicate the “un” is missing.
I saw this sign in a local store. I’m pretty sure they mean “hoppin'” because (a) there’s a bunny and (b) the bunny is one of the symbols of Easter and bunnies who hop go “hopping.” They at least did include the apostrophe to indicate the missing “g,” but what a difference the second “p” makes.
This showed up for me recently. I’m not sure what the attraction would be to make a contraction from “there are” when you are only taking out the “a” and adding the apostrophe. And do people really say “there’re” instead of “there are”?
This is a very common error I see. The apostrophe here is for a contraction. It’s is a contraction for “It is.” But that doesn’t fit in the restaurant’s advertisement. “Its” is the possessive form of the pronoun “it.”
I found this article and thought it was interesting. Incorrect use of apostrophes is probably my biggest pet peeve. It isn’t really hard. If you need to show possession or show that letters are missing, use an apostrophe. Otherwise, for the most part, do not use an apostrophe. There are, of course, exceptions, but you need to learn the difference because I’m pretty sure that you don’t want your attorney’s work to be the topic of a FindLaw article.
Attorney Objects to Motion’s Use of Apostrophes, Possessives
By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 16, 2011 5:42 AM
Though she managed to graduate from law school, Anissa Bluebaum apparently never managed to master elementary school grammar.
Or at least that’s what her fellow attorney had to say when he responded to a complaint in a civil lawsuit filed by Bluebaum.
Her egregious use of apostrophes made it impossible to tell who she was referring to and when.
Anissa Bluebaum is representing Alison Peck (a teacher who was busted for sleeping with her students) in a lawsuit against her former probation officer, Rebecca Martin, reports the Springfield News-Leader.
When Martin’s attorney, Richard Crites, received the complaint, he was a bit baffled. But Crites soldiered on, responding on behalf of his client.
With 8 pages of questions.
Apparently, the lawsuit was filed against Martin and her brother, but because Bluebaum had rendered the complaint incoherent by misusing both “defendants” and “defendant’s,” Crites was unable to tell whether statements were referring to one or both parties.
He also requested that Bluebaum respond to his request in paragraph form.
Did Bluebaum write her pleading like a stream-of-consciousness text message, too?
As you may know, glaring grammatical errors can be disastrous to your case (and make you look a bit ridiculous). So the next time you’re confronted with multiple parties to which you need to attribute actions or statements, keep the following in mind:
Defendants is more than one defendant;
Defendant’s is the possessive of a singular defendant; and
Defendants’ is the possessive of more than one defendant.
If you’re still unsure, ask around–you don’t want to end up like Anissa Bluebaum.
It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they may appear here soon!
This week’s words are:
their – belonging to them. Their car was the red Lexus. (The red Lexus belonged to them.)
there – in that place. He placed his books there on that table. (He placed his books in that place.)
they’re – contraction of “they are.” They’re planning to go to the event on Saturday. (They are planning to go to the event on Saturday.)
Lots of people struggle with these. If you can replace the word with “they are,” use they’re. If not, then it is either there or their. Does it belong to someone? Then use “their.” If it doesn’t belong to anyone and they are doesn’t make sense in its place, then it is probably “there.” Check it by asking if there is something in that place when you are putting it there.