Are You Killing the Apostrophe?

Years ago, I came across a column on the demise of the apostrophe, called Are You Killing the Apostrophe. It makes no sense to me to discard a perfectly good and useful mark of punctuation simply because some people don’t know how to use it.

Why don’t they just learn, same as they have learned how to do any number of simple everyday tasks, such as hanging up a coat, boiling water, or locking their front doors? Do those people just throw their clothes on the floor, never make a hot drink, and trust the neighborhood safety patrol to keep on eye on things?

Most of the time, the apostrophe is used in noun possessions and in contractions. There are a couple of other uses, but these are the main two.

John’s books. The woman’s books. The women’s books. It’s (it is) a good book. The man who’s (who is) reading a book.


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2 Responses to Are You Killing the Apostrophe?

  1. dennis says:

    I had this conversation with a friend a few weeks ago. I think apostrophes are an unnecessary remnant of times past. There are many words that hold different meanings, so I won’t be confused if ITS means the possession or contraction. It doesn’t work quite as seemlessly with WELL and HELL but, hey, well get through it come hell or high water. I talked about starting an anti-apostrophe movement. Just sayin’.

    • Robert1991 says:

      Oho. The English language works quite SEAMlessly in most situations. I say most only because I don’t speak in absolutes, but aside from that, I agree with Chase, because there’s no need to reconsider an age-old punctuation mark simply because one particular person (dennis) doesn’t feel like stretching his right pinky out another centimeter to strike the correct key.

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