The Apostrophe is Not Always Your Friend

Apostrophes mean well. They show possession, join together two words into a new conjunction, and (in some very specific cases) indicate plurals.

But that’s their whole problem. The apostrophe, it wants too much. Not content to simply show ownership, the apostrophe creeps into words in which it simply does not belong. It’s the clingy ex hell-bent on showing that you cannot possibly live without it.

Take, for example, the classic its/it’s issue. Usage should be simple: use its when you’re talking about something belonging to it, and use it’s when you’re trying to say it is. But that pesky apostrophe can trip you up. Looking at its, you think that’s not right. If it were Bob’s, there would be an apostrophe before the s. I must mean to use it’s instead. And the apostrophe nods and insinuates itself between the t and the s, despite the fact that it has no business being there at all.

Keep your eye out for the apostrophe. It’s possessive.

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