Better Writing: Apostrophe Errors Undermine Credibility
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 at 05:50 AM EDT
You donâ€™t always need to write obsessively correct English. Iâ€™ve written tips on how some grammar rules can be broken elsewhere in this series. One popular example is Better writing: And.
However, there are serious mistakes which are best avoided if you want to appear professional and intelligent. When you commit a grammar crime in, say, a business email, in a report or in a web post, you undermine your message. In many cases your clumsy and clueless English could be around for a long time warning the world not to take you seriously.
Apostrophes are often to blame for these credibility errors. If you are not a confident writer, alarm bells should ring every time you reach for the apostrophes key.
Five apostrophe errors to watch for:
A greengrocersâ€™ apostrophe happens when a writer turns a word into a plural by using an apostrophe s rather than the correct plural ending.
For example: Macintoshes and PCs not Macintoshâ€™s and PCâ€™s.
And while we are on the subject, there is no such word as itsâ€™.
Youâ€™re is a contraction of â€œyou areâ€, as in â€œyouâ€™re reading a column on basic grammatical errorsâ€.
This article originally appeared on Knowledge Workers.