Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Apostrophe: The A to Z Writing Challenge

Like with any lesson, I end up learning more from my research than what my readers probably will. At least I hope someone will benefit from this short post about the ever-important apostrophes. During this month's writing challenge, I'll be going to Jane Straus's The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation as my reference guide. I'll show you just a few of the basic rules, and I beg you to click on over to her webpage and read the rest. They are very necessary for any writer's toolbox. (Note the correct use of the apostrophe?)

Jane's Rule 1: The apostrophe is used with contractions. For example: She isn't ( She is not), and I'm going (I am going), and you're a writer (you are a writer). Use the apostrophe where the letter(s) is removed.

Rule 2: Use the apostrophe to show possession.

The writer's pen.
The dog's tail.
The superhero's cape.

Place the apostrophe before of the s to show a singular possession. If you have a plural possession and it ends with an s, show it this way (although the extra s is not require, it is preferred and it sounds better) . . .

The Jones's driveway.

Jane's rule #9 is especially important, I think. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns. His, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose. They already show possession.

There are more very important and helpful rules on Jane's webpage. Take five minutes and read them over and your manuscript will rock with perfection.


Margo Kelly said...

Hello! I've visiting from the A to Z Challenge! Love grammar tips. :) Also remember with singular nouns like Charles, the apostrophe s goes at the end: Charles's

Have a great day! :)

Debra Erfert said...

Hi Margo! Oh, yes, I learned about singular nouns the hard way. Getting verbally slapped leaves a solid impression in one's psyche. Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Ann Nickerson said...

Love the cartoon!
Apostrophes are so often misused. Important reminder!

As a career editor, I have often groaned over grammar.

Happy A to Z!
(I'm doing EIGHT blogs. Whew.)
Here's one:
A is for Absent - Rhymed Acrostics from A to Z

Paula Martin said...

Punctuation was drummed into us when I was at school, and I always cringe when I see apostrophes used wrongly!

Debra Erfert said...

Linda, thanks, I love cartoons, since I'm an artist as well as a writer.

Paula, I still cringe over punctuation. Probably always will.

Nagzilla said...

Love the cartoon. I agree with getting irked by inappropriate apostrophe usage. Although when I was in school, they drummed in us that the plural apostrophe stood alone without the extra s, so it always looks weird to me to see it that way. We have a mechanic in town that goes by the name Kiss's Repair, and it drives me nuts every time I see it.

Great post! Hi from Nagzilla bloghopping A to Z

sdk_2010 said...

That darn apostophe and its non use with the word "its". Never got it right at school. Anyways, thanks for stopping by Smurfin' The Web (note the use of the apostrophe lol) hope to see you around again =) PS - please disable Captcha Grrr ;-)

Jemima Pett said...

Very nice! My GN editor would be pleased. Strangely I find my natural apostrophe use gets worse with age. Must be too many other things cluttering up the mind.

Looking forward to more tips on the A to Z challenge!
Jemima at Jemima's blog

Juliet Bond said...

Nice to have found like minded folk. Please visit and become a member at where we are posting an original poem every day during the A-Z challenge.

Debra Erfert said...

Nagzilla, I believe the plural apostrophe without the extra s is still used, but I think it totally depends on the editor and maybe what part of the country in which she/he resides. My editor did not let me get away with it. That's fine. Now I know what's acceptable to her.

sdk_2010, Sorry about the captcha. I'll see if I'm technically savvy enough to disable it.

Jemima, I'll find my way to your blog next.

Juliet, I'm not very poetically fluent. Wished I was.

Debra Erfert said...

sdk_2010, I'm more tech savvy than I thought I was. Zing! Captcha disabled for the month.

lostinsidethecovers said...

Great idea for a theme, I always need refreshers. Shamefully I used to write it's ALL the time until I was made fun of. Thank goodness they called me out. :)
Did you ever read the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves? I was amazed it was so funny.

Debra Erfert said...

No, I haven't read that book, but it sounds funny. I love unique and interesting titles. Thanks for stopping by.

Rachael Featherstone said...

I think I'm in love with apostrophe man!

Debra Erfert said...

He is adorable, isn't he? (Note the proper use of the apostrophe?) hehehe

ManicScribbler said...

Always love it when people take up the cudgel for apostrophes. I read a couple of weeks ago of the dumbing down of apostrophes in one English town. Apparently this is avoiding future street names that use apostrophes as these cause too much confusion. Shame!

Debra Erfert said...

ManicScribbler, maybe that town just ran out of apostrophes and were too darn cheep to buy any more.

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