Apostrophes are among the most misunderstood grammatical markings in the English language, second only to the comma. While the rules of the comma are somewhat flexible, the rules of the apostrophe are not. My blood pressure is normally low, but I can literally feel it rising when I see the apostrophe misused.
Maybe I need to relax and let things slide. Then again, maybe people just need to use this mark correctly.
The main rule for apostrophes is not complex. Here it is: apostrophes show possession.
That's it. It's not difficult nor does it require a college degree to understand. Apostrophes are used to tell us when a thing belongs to something or someone. They are not used to make a word plural.
Allow me to give you a couple of examples:
1. The moms met together for lunch.
Here, the word "moms" is plural. It is used to tell us that there is more than one mom at lunch. Notice the lack of apostrophe as it is not needed.
2. I wore my mom's wedding dress on my own wedding day.
Here, the word "mom's" shows possession. It tells us that the wedding dress of which we are speaking belongs to mom. It speaks of the singular mom (only one). The apostrophe is necessary.
Oh, and I did, indeed, wear my mother's wedding dress the day I got married. :)
3. The moms' group raised money for the school.
Here, the word "moms'" also shows possession, but for more than one mom. Just as the "moms" went to lunch, there's more than one. In this sentence, the group belongs to these mothers. Therefore, an apostrophe is needed. Because there is already an 's' in the plural form, there is not another 's' added after the apostrophe. This leads to a quick example of one of the most complex rules regarding the apostrophe...
4. Jesus's disciples followed Him.
In this case, the name 'Jesus' ends in an 's'. Because His name is not a plural form, we do add an 's' after the apostrophe.
I truly hope this helps some of you. I truly hope you begin to use apostrophes correctly from now on. It will reflect much better on you and it will enable me to have a future that is free of high blood pressure medication.
*In one of the comments in the last post, it is mentioned that blogs are not expected to follow the traditional rules of writing. While this is true to a small degree, it does not include misspellings and blatantly incorrect punctuation. Bloggers are given the liberty to ignore paragraph & common sentence structure, to a degree. For instance, in the above post, my second paragraph is only two sentences long. This is not the traditional structure, but is acceptable in the blogosphere. Also, the occasional fragmented sentence is allowed for emphasis, as well.
Please keep the comments coming. While I may not respond to each, I do read them, love them, and enjoy the thoughts they provoke.*