Grammar |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Apostrophes

Its vs. It’s

Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 5:35 pm

Would you like to know the number one grammatical error? Hint: The word involved is small and it's contained in this sentence. That's right: its vs. it's Yet the two rules are actually quite easy to remember. Rule 1: When you mean it is or it has, use an apostrophe. Examples: It's a nice day. …

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The Apostrophe with Letters, Numbers, and Abbreviations

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009, at 10:28 am

Questions can often arise about how to make the plural and plural possessive forms of numbers, letters, and abbreviations. The following guidelines will help you apply a consistent style for everyday use. Plural of Letters Rule: The plurals for letters are typically not formed with apostrophes. However, do use an apostrophe and an s for …

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Apostrophes with Names Ending in y

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 10:01 am

Question: How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y like Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies as in I visited the Murphies yesterday? Answer: No. Never change the spelling of a name to show the plural form. Example: I visited the Murphys yesterday. Question: How do you …

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Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 9:17 am

Are you confused about how to show the plural and the possessive of certain names? Maybe you know to write I met the Smiths, I drove Brenda Smith’s Ferrari, and I visited the Smiths’ house. But what if the name is Sanchez or Church or Williams? Rule: To show the plural of a name that …

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Confusing Possessives

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 7:00 pm

The Chicago Manual of Style lists the following holidays as singular possessives: Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day. Plural possessive is used for Presidents' Day. Your guess is as good as anyone's about Secretary's vs. Secretaries' vs. Secretaries Day and Boss's vs. Bosses' vs. Bosses Day. What would you do if …

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The Most Common Punctuation Error of All

Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2006, at 9:09 pm

When asked what the most common punctuation error of all is in American English, I don’t have to think hard. The "winning" mistake is the misuse of the apostrophe, especially with its/it’s. First, let’s get rid of a myth: There is no such thing as its’. Why? Because its’ would be meaningless. If its' existed, …

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