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I have apparently been using the apostrophe wrong for years, now i really want to know

(24 Posts)
GodzillasBumcheek Wed 17-Sep-08 21:52:25

Other than it's being its (the exception to the possessive rule which i have been mis-correcting DH's texts with for 6 years); what other exceptions are there that i am unaware of? I am feeling Very Uneducated (well actually i am very uneducated but never mind).

loobeylou Wed 17-Sep-08 22:09:23

saw a kids t-shirt with a cute little zebra in tesco this summer which had the slogan "zebra's have stripes" or "zebras have stripe's" can't remember which but decided not to buy one

did have PJs from Asda for my DD aged 1 that said "Your'e a star" - wrote and complained but got no reply

being serious though, I suppose theirs has no apostrophe either (I think)

Like your name, but should have an apostrophe in that too!

fryalot Wed 17-Sep-08 22:11:20

The only time that there should be an apostrophe in the word ITS is when you are shortening IT IS.

Every other time it is just ITS.

So if you are saying "It's a nice day" that's fine, but if you are saying "The cat has lost its collar" you need to lose the apostrophe. Always.


Feenie Wed 17-Sep-08 22:14:35

Dunnes had girls' knickers with "Your rich...!" plastered all over them. I don't even have a daughter but was enough of a pedant (and hormonal enough) to complain. The shop assistant didn't have a clue what I was blethering on about. I left another one trying to explain it to her, and then a call came over the tannoy for the supervisor! God knows if they sorted it out. Bloody tacky anyway grin

GodzillasBumcheek Wed 17-Sep-08 22:24:27

It does make you wonder who has the daft ideas for these items of clothing.

For some reason i've never had any trouble knowing not to put the apostrophe in 'theirs'. It just doesn't look right otherwise.

I didn't just mean mistakes with apostophes anyway - for example am i using ... or - wrongly? I don't know any more!

beanbearer Wed 17-Sep-08 23:07:33

Possessive pronouns - ie its and theirs, his and hers - don't have an apostrophe because the possession is indicated by the word itself. Being told that made remembering whether or not to use one easier for me.

As for other exceptions, I believe that you can choose whether to add just an ' or 's after single words that end in s (plurals only ever add ') so James' bike is as correct as James's bike. Open to correction on this though!

controlfreakinfreaky Wed 17-Sep-08 23:11:42

no s at the end of plural words which already end in s... so princesses' not princesses's

retiredgoth Wed 17-Sep-08 23:14:11

....I was sad enough to take a picture of the (plainly head office issued) sign in a supermarket cafe which read "try our delicious breakfast's"

I did think about questioning the operatives about what thing belonging or appertaining to the breakfast I should try.

Mercifully my twins demanded use of the toilet at the very moment I was about to do so.


Incidentally the supermarket in question was Sainsbury's. Or Sainsburys. Or J. Sainsbury and son.....

Please advise...

littlelapin Wed 17-Sep-08 23:17:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ellbell Wed 17-Sep-08 23:17:58

beanbearer... I usually use the rule that you add an extra 's' after the apostrophe if you 'hear' the extra 's' sound, so James's would have an extra 's' because you'd say it as [not sure if I can type this] 'Jame-sis'. However, 'clothes', say, wouldn't have an extra 's' because you wouldn't say it as 'clothes-is'.

So: 'James's ball' but 'the clothes' fabric' ... or something! (I think!)

overthehill Wed 17-Sep-08 23:31:34

Yes, Ellbell; that's what I thought too.

GodzillasBumcheek Thu 18-Sep-08 09:21:55

Yes littlelapin, i couldn't decide whether to write 'wrong' or 'wrongly'. I have no idea what rules apply. Same with 'whom' - when is it appropriate to use this?

I can take criticism of my language skills anyway, being only educated to GCSE level (an excellent excuse for being ignorant IMO, lol).

ditheringdora Thu 18-Sep-08 09:27:55

I lurve this thread. I work near a fruit and Veg shop that has "potato's" for sale. Makes me laugh, but when it's printed up all wrong (incorrectly?) makes me boil..

GodzillasBumcheek Thu 18-Sep-08 09:52:14

Ok...i do find the printed mistakes funny, but being married to a dyslexic man, he makes me feel quite guilty as i can't help but laugh at his errors sometimes.

I mean, bless 'im, but if you were sent a text saying 'dont forget buggers', you'd laugh, wouldn't you?

smartiejake Thu 18-Sep-08 10:26:40

My dd bought her dad a mug for fathers'(father's?) day last year. It said "Dad your're the best"

She bought it at the school father's day sale.

Another sign I saw at the local farm shop (Printed not handwritten)said

"Thief's will be prosecuted"

MrsShalloway Sun 21-Sep-08 14:52:05


I recommend Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. You'll be correcting everyone else in no time smile

WendyWeber Sun 21-Sep-08 14:56:02

The Guardian did a cities supplement last week which included (I actually started a Pedants thread about this but only GDG noticed sad):

Other City's to Kick Back In

<lies down and dies>

MrsShalloway Sun 21-Sep-08 15:03:27


GodzillasBumcheek Tue 23-Sep-08 21:59:16

I may ask for that book for Christmas (since i am tight poor).

babyignoramus Thu 25-Sep-08 18:28:32

There's a shop near me called "New's Agents". I've been dying to go in and ask to speak to Mr New but haven't got the balls.

kingrolo Fri 26-Sep-08 14:19:26

WendyWeber - I saw that too! Was outraged! Not only was the mistake made in the first place but IT WASN'T SPOTTED BY ANYONE prior to publication!

Drives me mad.

BTW, Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary is a good read for the aspiring pedant.

bellabelly Fri 26-Sep-08 14:27:35

Godzilla - best ever book for basic grammar, puctuation, etc is CGP - English: the Scary Bits. It is aimed at KS3 students but I have found it very helpful (and I am an English teacher, with a degree in English and everything!).

bellabelly Fri 26-Sep-08 14:29:07

link to Scary Bits

GodzillasBumcheek Fri 26-Sep-08 21:32:53

LOL...i never realised there were so many picky people wink

BTW i only recently have managed to spell broccoli correctly blush

I have been writing it brocolli on my shopping lists for AGES, but this week made a point of checking the last bag of frozen we had. Thanks goodness the supermarket managed to spell that one right!

Thanks for all the reading recommendations everyone. I may or may not afford to buy any!

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