Tuesday, November 13, 2012

# 22 Hanging Apostrophes

I'm back to the old Purdue Owl page. I'm beginning to really like this page. It's not a rote answer with no explanation or examples; it's a good page.http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/

Once again, I also went to my old fav, grammargirl. She's a lot more complicated than the Owl, but she's good.

In fact, grammargirl thought the apostrophe was sooooo important, that she cut it into TWO parts.

The reason for this little lesson is that I needed a refresher. I thought I'd been taught wrong all those long years ago. I mean about the apostrophe used for possession, not contractions.

I happen to love contractions. I'm told that very young children's book authors are told not to use contractions. That kids at that age can't understand contractions. Personally, I don't see that, but I'm not going to discuss that now. My little one has been hearing everyone and their brother using contractions since she popped out of the womb. (psst - children's is correct according to some and childrens' is correct according to others. It's an odd bird.) It's those possessive ones that cause all the problems. 

It is those blasted possessives. And the most important note on this little hanging devil is listed on the Owl as a wee little note. When it is, to me, the most abused use of the hanging apostrophe around.

(Note: Its and it's are not the same thing. It's is a contraction for "it is" and its is a possessive pronoun meaning "belonging to it." It's raining out= it is raining out. A simple way to remember this rule is the fact that you don't use an apostrophe for the possessive his or hers, so don't do it with its!)

Those are the facts, my friends. That's all you need to know. Oh -- except for this.... And this is the simple, but correct way to determine whether or not a word needs a hanging chad... sorry, apostrophe.

To see if you need to make a possessive, turn the phrase around and make it an "of the..." phrase. For example:

the boy's hat = the hat of the boy
three days' journey = journey of three days

If the noun after "of" is a building, an object, or a piece of furniture, then no apostrophe is needed!

room of the hotel = hotel room
door of the car = car door
leg of the table = table leg

Both of these sections are from the Purdue Owl's link. See above.
Hope this helps. It did me. I was running amok with 'its.' (psst - the period after its is within the quotation mark. See the blog # 20.)
Life is never-ending.


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