Monday, August 15, 2011

Pluralization and Apostrophes

Apostrophes don't make something plural.
The end.

Okay, okay, I'll go into more detail. The #1 mistake I see on this subject is last names. Say your last name is "Smith" and you'd like to sign a note from your whole family. You simply add an 's'. No need for an apostrophe, but somehow, I frequently see it written as:

I knew it was getting bad because I saw this everywhere. And then I saw it on regular words. Take the Etsy forums, for example. People want to talk about more than one treasury, so guess what they make it. "Treasury's"


Can you tell I'm in a cranky mood tonight? I suppose I'll always come across in a 'holier than thou' way when correcting. It's just a natural result, but I truly do want to help small online business owners.

I cannot say this enough: When you own an online business, your written language--your spelling, your grammar--is how you present yourself.

Pluralization is quite simple. Add an 's' to make more than one.

When your word ends with a 'y', you need to take out the 'y' and add 'ies'.

Don't over think it.

Apostrophes, in general, are only used for contractions and to show possession. 
Something that belongs to someone: The boy's hat.
When there are two or more boys with hats, the apostrophe follows the 's': The boys' hats.

Did not becomes didn't.
Should not becomes shouldn't.
The apostrophe (often) takes the place of the one missing letter. (The 'o' in 'not' in the examples above.)

Any comments? Questions? Promises you don't intend to keep?
I'm here. Let me know if you have a question about spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the like.


Anonymous said...

Love it! AND so true!

Sheila Galindo said...

I am one of those, like you, who is driven crazy with bad punctuation. The only one I have to stop and think about it its and it's. And once I write it, I'm usually right.
Poor spelling also bugs me, but that's another story. Of course, then there are the words that sound the same and are spelled different.

Angela said...

This is my pet peeve!!! I can not stand it! I ordered a personalized painted wooden sign on Etsy and I ordered it as "The Holmans" and got "The Holman's" --argh. I didn't return it, but it bothers me all the time!! Honestly though I should have told her it was incorrect and returned it but I didn't want to complain because I sort of knew her through our blogs. :(

Robin said...

I think The Holman's became common usage because it implies silently that it is hanging on The Holman's front door. The Holman's home.

Carrie said...

I have a very serious question: What do you do when your last name is Ruggles? When we are plural - we say...? When we have ownership - we say...? I love your grammar lessons. Mostly I just knod in agreement about being upset when I see them. I am not perfect at it at all, but I do agree that when its a business you really need to take the time to check it over and over. Anyway, I have always wondered if I am doing it correctly when I try to pluralize our family, etc. Thanks!

Joan said...

Care, this is something I have experience with since my maiden named ended in an 's'! ;)
If you are showing ownership, the apostrophe goes after your 's'.
So it would be "The Ruggles' dog..."
I'm 90% sure on this--I can double check. When a last name ends in s, x, ch, sh, or z, you do add an -es at the end. However, my own, personal rule of thumb is to simply say "The Ruggles Family" instead of sounding like I'm saying Ruggleseses.
(But let's be honest, I DO frequently say 'Ruggleseseses" just to have some fun in my life.)

Barbra said...

I recently did a post on this irks me so! But that's the old teacher in me!


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