Grammar nerds, this day’s for you

It’s National Grammar Day! I know, exciting, isn’t it? :)

Errant apostrophes

Errant apostrophes

The big day goes back to 2008, when Martha Brockenbrough and the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) founded it. SPOGG is “for people appalled by bad grammar in public spaces.” Yup, that’s me.

One of my pet peeves is the mishandling of apostrophes. The cheery photo here has two offences:

  1. A missing possessive apostrophe: Farmers’ market
  2. Two unwanted apostrophes on plurals: Thursdays & Saturdays.

According to The Canadian Press Stylebook, use an apostrophe:

  • To show possession: children’s toys
  • To show letters or figures are missing: it’s for it is
  • With verbs formed from capitals: X’d out
  • In plurals of lowercase letters: mind your p’s and q’s

Do not use an apostrophe:

  • With plurals of capital letters or numbers, like the ABCs or the 1960s (unless it might be confusing: A’s in math are hard to come by)
  • To form the plural of expressions like the whys and wherefores, dos and don’ts
  • With shortened words that have become common, like phone or gym.

For details on the excitement (haha) of National Grammar Day, check out this year’s host, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty. Listen to March Forth: the Grammar Song, find out how to make a Grammartini and pick up an editing checklist with areas to watch out for, including unnecessary adverbs, “there are” sentences and adjective drift.

And don’t forget to proudly wave your grammar nerd flag.

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