Sunday, May 18, 2014

Misplaced Apostrophes

Misplaced apostrophes is one of the biggest peevs employers complain about in CVs and resumes. It’s also a big problem in books as well. Maybe some editors don’t know the rules or maybe the mistakes are so widespread authors, when told of their inaccuracies, refuse to fix them.

There’s even a website,, by people who hate them because so few people get them right. But instead of blaming the poor helpless little apostrophe, why not learn how to use them correctly?

The rules are very simple. There are only two places where it is correct to use an apostrophe. First, to indicate a missing letter (or letters), and second, to indicate possession.

John’s hat. (possession).
We’re (we are).

Dates are not possessive and there’s nothing missing, therefore it is the 1780s, NOT 1780’s.

Plurals never require an apostrophe. Apples, pears, cherries, all plural just add s. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the Smiths. Just add an s.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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