It’s no secret that I am deeply in love with the apostrophe. I love its curvy little shape and I love its undying devotion to being useful. And because I love it so dearly, I feel its pain – the pain to which it is subjected on a daily basis. I see it inserted into plurals where it doesn’t belong (my favourite from yesterday evening: Ladie’s. The pain. THE PAIN.); I see it left out of possessives where it belongs; I see it overlooked and overworked and I see it forced into positions from which there is apparently no escape for our valiant little apostrophe.
I’m not completely blameless, though. When I was about ten, I clearly remembering being utterly confused about apostrophes and using them on a sort of pattern basis: when a word ended in an S and I’d gone a whole paragraph without using an apostrophe, one was clearly needed. Somehow, I got it all sorted out in my head and now I’m quite liable to use my finger to scrub an unnecesary apostrophe off a menu board, or lament my handy lack of chalk so I could add one in.
I thought I’d seen it all until this arrived in my inbox yesterday morning:
At first, my mind completely blanked out this horrific case of apostrophe abuse and led me instead to the mis-quoted lyrics. It’s Fa, not La, at the start there, thank-you very much. And… WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO THAT APOSTROPHE? I could almost understand if it had gone between the T and the i, but no – it’s sitting randomly in a place where no apostrophe should ever be sent. Why? Why? Is there seriously no-one in that workplace with a knowledge of grammar? No-one who could come along and laugh uproariously at such ridiculousness before pointing them in the right direction? No-one who could sit them down and ask what the hell they were on about with those random capital letters in there?
No-one at all?
I’m going to keep fighting the good fight for the apostrophes, but some days the battlefront looks very grim indeed.
P.S. For a handy refresher on how to use apostrophes (and not make me cry), try this link.