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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Apostrophes

Is It Bachelors Degree or Bachelor’s Degree?

Posted on Monday, July 26, 2021, at 6:00 am

One of the ironies of education is that many people receive four-year degrees in the U.S. each year but aren’t sure whether their achievement needs to be written with an apostrophe. Even if you did well in English and grammar courses earlier on, such a detail may not be something you address every day. Do …

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Is It Father’s Day or Fathers Day?

Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at 6:00 am

As the third Sunday in June approaches, many of you may be wondering how to write the name of the holiday—is it Father’s Day, Fathers’ Day, or Fathers Day? We last looked into the topic of where to properly place holiday apostrophes in a 2018 newsletter. Today we provide an update. Do You Use an …

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Is It Masters Degree or Master’s Degree?

Posted on Monday, March 8, 2021, at 9:00 am

Many may wonder whether to add an apostrophe to master's degree, something than can confuse even those with a highly advanced education in working with words. We will address a few facets concerning this term, including apostrophes, possessive use, and capitalization. Do You Use an Apostrophe When Spelling Master's Degree? The most direct answer is …

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The Spell of the Holidays

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 11:00 pm

The year-end holidays are an alternate reality. People dress differently, act differently … and even talk differently. This time of year has its own vocabulary, and some of these old-fashioned words have eccentric spellings. So here is our holiday spelling quiz. You'll find the answers directly below. 1. ___ the night before Christmas. A) T'was …

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Clipping Syllables to Sizes We Like

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 11:00 pm

The two following excerpts express the same thing. Which might you rather read or listen to? Today I went to the doctor's office for an exam because I thought I might be getting the flu. I skipped going to the gym after that. I stopped for gas and went home. Beth wanted me to help …

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Expressing Possession Greater Than One

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Communicating joint ownership can be a grammatical no-man’s land for many of us. Whether we were listening, speaking, or writing, we’ve probably found ourselves with statements similar to these: Chuck and Joe’s vacation resorts are in South America. Chuck’s and his vacation resorts are in South America. Theirs and Marla’s meetings are on Tuesday. Marla …

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Plural and Possessive Forms with Names Ending in y or i

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at 7:00 am

How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y such as Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies? Given how other English words ending in y form their plurals, you would think so. Examples: puppy / puppies army / armies supply / supplies However, proper nouns are not pluralized …

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How Did They Get In Here?

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Writers today have problems keeping their sentences internally consistent. This is especially true of print journalists. Because of staff cutbacks at financially challenged newspapers, many articles are proofread hastily, if at all. Combine that with the shocking decline in Americans’ English language skills over the last fifty years or so and you get sentences unworthy …

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Declining or Just Changing?

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 11:00 pm

If you think you know your English, Ammon Shea’s Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation might make you question your most cherished notions. The book has a lot to offer grammar sticklers with open minds, but it will challenge—and enrage—most traditionalists. People who care about language tend to deplore the slovenly habits of their …

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Confusing Possessives Revisited

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at 11:00 pm

As the second Sunday in May approaches, many of you may be wondering how to write the name of the holiday—is it Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day, or Mothers Day? We first looked into the topic of where to properly place holiday apostrophes in a 2008 newsletter. Today we provide an update. The Chicago Manual of …

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