Beware the Zombie Apostrophe

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In the murky world of punctuation nothing is more terrifying than… the apostrophe!

Does your apostro-phobia keep you awake at night? Oddball Marketing wants to release you from this fear which grips even the most confident writer from time to time. Follow this very simple guide for some easing of your apostrophe insecurity.

Yes – use an apostrophe

If someone owns something e.g. Sam’s family / The children’s bikes / The woman’s car / Mother’s Day / New Year’s Eve

If words are shortened or left out e.g. I am – I’m / You are – You’re / It is – It’s / Can not – Can’t / Good day – G’day

No – back away from the apostrophe

If talking about more than one thing e.g. Apples not apple’s / Specials not special’s / MP3s not MP3’s

This is sometimes called the shopkeeper’s apostrophe because you’ll often see this on a menu or list of products.

One quirky exception

It’s / Its is a tricky one.

Use an apostrophe only if you are shortening It is e.g. It’s a lovely day.

Don’t use an apostrophe if It owns something e.g. This milk is past its use-by date.

Oh and ITS’ is never right. Ever.

A quick quiz

Armed with this information, which one of these sentences is correct?

  1. The dogs dish was full of yummy treat’s.
  2. The dog’s dish was full of yummy treats.

Don’t stress

This guide is a good start to learning to use apostrophes without fear. Of course there are other things to say but don’t worry about those right now.  The most common mistake is using an apostrophe because there is more than one thing. Work on this one first.

Does it matter if you misuse apostrophes? People will only notice if it’s wrong. You want all your business communications to look professional and trustworthy. Your customers want to know that you care about the little details. That’s why you want your content to be spot on.

Need more help?

Writing is either really easy or really hard for you – there isn’t much middle ground and there’s no reason to apologise.  

Don’t shy away from the content in your website or marketing documents because you’re not sure you can do it (or if you have the time). Speak to Oddball Marketing about how we can provide the skills and capacity you need.

Our specialist team provides website build and marketing, design and layout, content, SEO and Adwords, marketing strategy, photography and print. So we can leave you to your business while we get on with ours.

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