Apostrophe Catastrophe   Leave a comment

I’m not sure what the “-strophe” suffix conventionally indicates but given those two examples, I am not under the impression that it is something positive. As a grammar fiend, it’s frustrating that my recent apostrophe usage has not reflected a superlatively intuitive grasp of its principles. Some degree of confusion is understandable because the apostrophe (‘) is not itself a unique punctuation mark like the question mark or parenthesis. It’s a floating comma, and commas are used to separate distinct ideas and clauses. I can’t think of a reason why commas that, on account of their anti-gravity aptitude, indicate possession or vaporized letters.

Possessives vs. plurals isn’t really that hard of a concept and neither is contractions. I think it’s merely the physical appearance of the apostrophe, with its comma-like physique and curious hovering, that often makes people use it, myself included, unnecessarily. Things that float, they rock. Grammar isn’t very fun to a lot of people, so perhaps they’re attracted to rocking floaty things. So apostrophes get used unnecessarily. Or else completely ignored because their undistinguished appearance makes them seem inconsequential for casual communication.


Posted May 25, 2010 by Wada in Uncategorized

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