Some time ago, I received a very cordial and complimentary message from Brent Davies, one of our British subscribers to The Kellygram, (While we suspended publication in 2016, all 160+ issues of that ezine are archived on our website – www.bobkellywriter.com.) Brent was kind enough to tell us about an organization in the U.K. named the Apostrophe Protection Society.
According to its website (www.apostrophe.org.uk), the organization “was started in 2001 by John Richards, now its Chairman, with the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English language.”
The site includes the basic rules for the use of the apostrophe, along with some basic examples:
“The rules concerning the use of Apostrophes in written English are very simple:
1. They are used to denote a missing letter or letters, for example:
– I can’t instead of I cannot.
– I don’t instead of I do not.
– It’s instead of it is [or, we would add, of it has]*
2. They are used to denote possession, for example:
– the dog’s bone
– the company’s logo
*Perhaps the simplest rule of all, but the most frequently misused; spellchecker programs routinely get it wrong. Please note that the possessive form of it does not take an apostrophe any more than ours, yours or hers do.
3. Apostrophes are never used to denote plurals.
My thanks to Brent Davies for this valuable information. Based on the frequent misuse we encounter here in the colonies, the Apostrophe Protection Society might wish to consider opening an American branch office.