Daily Archives November 25, 2011

Using Non Possessive Apostrophes in Professional Writing

Ladies and gentlemen, my day job is that of an editor, and it’s difficult for me to read for pleasure anymore without pointing out obvious errors in writing. Don’t get me wrong, in casual writing, I make plenty or typos and grammatical errors myself (just look at my blog for proof of that!) but in professional writing, it is important to pay attention to the details.

When perusing the internet, there is one particular grammatical error that bugs me when I see it that is consistently used improperly. The use of the apostrophe in writing should be reserved for missing letters (contractions) and possessives only. It is not used to denote plurals.

In order to help combat this increasingly common punctuation error, this article will provide a very brief explanation about how to use apostrophes in your writing when you are dealing with non possessive words, acronyms and dates. English is a living language, after all, and oftentimes when something is used incorrectly long enough, it becomes the ‘norm’ and grammar changes. This is one I’d like to see NOT change:


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