The grammarian in me screams inwardly every time I see the apostrophe overworked and underappreciated.
Contrary to popular opinion, the apostrophe does not need to add its workload. Its two main jobs are:
1) to form contractions and
2) to show possession.
Let me give an example from the typical labor and delivery scene.
1) To form contractions:
Mary's in a lot of pain having her baby.
That is, Mary is in a lot of pain.
(If she were in transition, of course, we would
fire the apostrophe and use periods, which Mary
hasn't had for nine months.
Mary. Is. In. Pain. And. It's. All. Bob's. Fault!)
2) To show possession.
Bob's fault. Bob takes ownership of his fault, whether or not he would use that same term for Mary's pain. The apostrophe is properly placed, even if Mary's anger isn't.
The apostrophe's job does not include adding itself to an "s" to make a singular word plural.
Bob and Mary are sleep-deprived, so let's (let us) leave them alone. She had twins, by the way, not twin's.
Follow me, please, to the grocery store. We'll (we will) call it Klein's because Mr. Klein owns this store, and I used to work for Mr. Klein. He owns the Forest Hill Lanes as well. Lanes, not Lane's, where a restaurant adjoins the bowling alley. I once waited tables at that restaurant, which was then called The Tankard. My mom hated the name, but that's (that is) beside the point.
Klein's sells flowers. A few feet inside the store there's (there is) the flower fridge. I love the bouquets, but cringe at the sign:
Rose's $9.99 a doz
The price is good, but the punctuation's (punctuation is) horrible. There was no one there named Rose. Rose didn't own $9.99 a doz. And to think "Rose is $9.99 a doz" just doesn't (does not) make sense. But if they are selling 12 roses for almost ten bucks, then say so: Roses--$9.99 a doz.
Here's a little quiz to see what you've learned.
1. Which is correct?
a. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.
b. There are 26 letter's in the English alphabet.
2. Which is correct?
a. Zoanna get's pretty uptight about misused apostrophe's.
b. Zoanna gets pretty uptight about misused apostrophes.
3. Which is correct?
a. One's behavior follows one's thinking; therefore, to write correctly, one must think correctly.
b. Ones behavior follow's ones thinking; therefore....
If you answered A,B,A (in that order), give yourself 100%. If you missed one, please review the lesson. If you missed two, please see me after class. We'll grab some coffee and a grammar book and discuss this really, deep, eternally-valuable stuff.
If you missed all three, I still love you. Do you still love me? I can be such a pest.