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Philosophy of Apostrophe: The Correct Usage

June 9th, 2009 2 comments

apostrophe3You have the pundits’ permission
To use apostrophe in omission
In possessives you are free to use
In plurals you are free to choose

First, let us a few letters omit
Therefore a few words in size, limit
In silent letters ov’r is a substitute
In contractions it’s in multitudes

And if you have shampoo’d your hair
Do let the ‘e’ disappear
You are correct if you omit the numeral
That’s how I write Indira’s ’84 funeral

Let’s now take the possessive case
Of words that don’t end with an ‘s’
If George’s death brought in the coroner
Men’s room was just round the corner

In names too give not the ‘s’ a miss
Charles’ it isn’t, Charles’s it is
But classical names are exceptions
As Achilles’ heel and Jesus’ crucifixion

In some institution and in some place
-Take Barclays Bank and Toms river case-
We drop the mark of apostrophe here
That is because of usage there

Yet, Woolworth’s Store is another way
But not for long, that I can say
For goodness’ sake where is the ‘s’?
That, my friend, is anyone’s guess

His, hers, its, theirs and ours
All dropped the mark, as has yours
Possessive pronouns are a different lot
Compound nouns are another lot

Duke of Edinburgh’s gaffe was the worst this summer
What he did before Genco Olive Oil’s customer

And if you had a joint company
The last name will hold the possessive key
For if Vinnie and Sonny had some buttonmen
Would be Vinnie and Sonny’s buttonmen then

McDonald’s is already in possessive
Adding an ‘s’ would be surely regressive
So let’s do it with a prepositional phrase
Quarter pounders at McDonald’s is a nice little phrase

Writing 1980’s, CPA’s isn’t quite right
Let the end of 2000s be very bright
Finally, let’s drop the mark from p’s and q’s
And ask about ‘em in the MCQs

-Adapted from ‘Prescriptivist’s Corner: The Catastrophe of Apostrophe’ by Dave Wilton