The Proper Use of the Apostrophe

Oh, goodness’ graciou’s, I have seen so many use’s of apostrophe’s, lot’s and lot’s of them, ever’where. The poor thing’s are being dragged into slavery doing work they were never meant to do. And, what is even worse is that they are not being used where they are needed. Yes, every one of those little darlings in the previous two sentences was enslaved inappropriately, and I did not use a single contraction, either. (I have been known to spell out to make a point.)

Here are a few examples seen in random locations in just this last week:

  • “my buddy’s and I went looking at car’s”
  • “we visited three country’s on our tour”
  • “my cat had it’s paw’s worked on today”
  • “Order a cake for the grad’s in your family!”
  • “she make’s sure we put our chair’s in with your’s”

Fellow word users of the world: unite! Join forces with me to stamp out incorrect uses of apostrophes.

Help teach people how to make a “y” word plural without adding an apostrophe. Those would be “buddies” and “countries” in the above examples.

Spread the word that a simple “s” on the end of a word makes it plural and does not require an apostrophe.  Those would be “cars,” “paws,” grads,” and “chairs” in the above examples.

Some words in our treasured English language are already possessive (that is, signifying that a thing or person has possession) without the apostrophe. That would be the “its” and “yours” in the above examples.

And, finally, a present-tense-singular verb requires no apostrophe. It is competent, confident, and correct all by its naked self with an “s” on the end. That would be “makes” in the above examples.

End of crusade and rant for the moment. Oh, except to remind you that periods and commas ALWAYS – ALWAYS – ALWAYS go inside quotation marks. ALWAYS – NO EXCEPTIONS!


Peggy Glenn learned apostrophe rules in the early 1950s while learning to type on the manual Underwood typewriter used daily by her grandmother, a hard-news reporter way before that was a fashionable career for women. Her Grandma always told her that “words are your friends, and if you learn their rules, you can play with them any day, any way, and always have fun.” So, even today while teaching others the same rules, she strives to have a good time.

1 reply
  1. Russ Locke
    Russ Locke says:

    Wonderful article Peggy. Thanks for setting the record straight on something that’s always bugged me too. (wait, was that one right?)
    I’m gonna read it for my Mom, who spent thirty years as a teacher’s aid in the English Department at LaCanada High School. She’ll love it.


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