Posted by: fireweaver | November 9, 2009

PSA for the day from the grammar nazi

apostrophes, people.  sometimes you need them, but most certainly, sometimes you don’t.  in general, you need ’em for 2 categories:

  1. possessives
  2. contractions

you’ll notice that plurals are just not on that list.  in a storage hallway here in my office building, we have a collection of boxes labeled things like “mask’s” or “respirator’s,” which some other grammar nazi¹ has red-pen’d (thanks!!).  i’m editing a professional document today in which nonhuman primates is abbreviated in every instance as “NHP’s.”

i blame the 80s, or more specifically, CDs that had titles like “80’s greatest hits!”  see, if you say something less direct, like “greatest hits of the 80’s,” then everyone gets the idea that pluralized things in general (and pluralized abbreviations most certainly) deserve an apostrophe before the s.  the trick with that particular example is that it’s still possessive, like “the blue sweater of John’s,” so it still merits its apostrophe, as does “80’s music,” but not “the latter half of the 80s.”

it’s ok, just let it go.  save yourself the time it takes for that extraneous pen stroke.  thanks!

————————————————————————————————

¹i am 100% aware that claiming to be a grammar nazi opens me up for heavy critiquing.  knock yourselves out.

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Responses

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