I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure

apostrophe’s cause lot’s of problem’s


Apostrophes cause lots of problems…

Apostrophes being used improperly is one of my pet hates.  They pop up in so many random, and wrong, places that sometimes it’s hard to focus on what’s right any more.

How often have you seen signs in the greengrocer’s shop selling  ‘Carrot’s half price’?  Or the roadside flower stall offering ‘Flower’s for sale’?  Some of the big supermarkets (and for a while Marks and Spencer was guilty – shock horror!) have signs above the aisles for CD’s and DVD’s.  Aaarrrgghh!

People don’t seem to know where to put them, so they just put them in every word which ends with an ‘s’ in the hope that at least some of them are correct.  It’s not a difficult concept to learn, so why is the problem so prolific?

Apostrophes are used to show ommision or possession – not plurals.  Most of the problems are when a plural word ends with an s so we get flower’s instead of flowers, or boy’s instead of boys, apostrophe’s instead of apostrophes etc.

It drives me MAD!  Is it just a problem in the UK, or is it worldwide?


27 thoughts on “apostrophe’s cause lot’s of problem’s

  1. Believe me this is universal! When I was teaching literacy skills to 1st year university students, I had to devote a week to apostrophes – argh!

  2. I hear you, sister! I couldn’t go into the Hub’s bank until they redecorated because an extraneous apostrophe on the wall would make me wince every time.

  3. Yes it’s here too and it is so very annoying. It’s not as if the use of apostrophes isn’t taught at school, but people just don’t seem to care. My mother (a retired teacher) even goes into shops especially to tell them they are using apostrophes incorrectly in their signage. jmgoyder, did the uni students get it?

  4. I have been unable to contain myself on many occasions in shops and had to point out various things. There was a shop selling photo’s, then there was the five year period when my local ASDA had the muesli aisle labelled “meusli”. And then there was that feeling of woe when Marks and Spencer decided to stop fighting and join them – when they changed their beautiful “5 items or fewer” to “five items or less”. Weep!
    So saying, I spelled / spelt (?) vomitting incorrectly yesterday. Apparently it is “vomiting”.
    But, then, as you can tell, I wasn’t having a good day… well, my son wasn’t having a good day…

    • Did going into the shops make any difference, apart from making you feel better of course? I’ve written to Sainsbury’s and was assured the sign would be changed – months later and nothing has changed. Also, at Sainsbury’s they have the ‘five items or less’ till – another of the things that really irritates me too!

      • The “photo’s” one was awkward. The guy looked at me in a “you are a lunatic” way – and then I had an internal crisis about the apostrophe perhaps being used in a contraction way – like photo ‘ replacing graph and s on the end. So I shuffled out in a bubble of uncertaintly.
        ASDA – it’s too much of a monster to deal with minutiae like that.
        M and S I couldn’t bring myself to have the chat, in reality.

        Oh, I was thinking, if I had been writing your title, I might have included the “word” “alot”…

        • I might have a similar crisis of confidence if I was going to complain in the shop, but I might be brave and do something about it next time. I think it certain shops they would just shrug their shoulders and say ‘so?’.
          Good suggestion to use ‘alot’ in my title. 🙂

  5. It’s a problem here in MN also. But after reading a few texts and tweets… I let it slide. 🙂

  6. Definitely a world wide problem. I try my best but I’m sure I still get some of them incorrect. Begging your forgiveness when it happens.

  7. I saw an apostrophe-related mistake last week to cap them all. I was driving behind a private taxi which was advertising its service to passers by with some amusing phrases. ‘You drink, we drive’ was one, but the one that made me cringe was: ‘We,ll drive you to drink’. No, that’s not a mistake. It really was a comma instead of an apostrophe.

  8. Couldn’t agree more – I dislike all bad grammar and spelling, but apostrophe misuse is one of my absolute bugbears.

  9. Elaine, it drive’s me mad too! 😉
    One of my characters is named The Dropped Apostrophe, he’s a supervillain, and he allows me to put apostrophes anywhere…

  10. My big problem is inadvertently using “it’s” instead of “its” for the possessive. I know the rule, but I use it’s so often that when it comes time for its, I often put in the apostrophe anyway. I hate it when I do that.

  11. Oh that sometimes happens to me too, and then I feel so cross with myself and think I should know better!

  12. Oooh this really annoys my! It’s not just a UK thing, unfortunately. The Germans even have a name for it – “Deppenapostroph” meaning “Idiot’s apostrophe”.

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