Many people have a blind spot when it comes to using the apostrophe. Why does it matter when it comes to your website? Because poor punctuation can make you look unprofessional, that's why! This guide explains why we use the apostrophe and the common pitfalls.
Why do we use the apostrophe?
There’s two reasons.
To show that something belongs to something else:
Customers have been flocking to Megan’s pie shop for generations
To show that a letter is missing:
What’s so important about punctuation?
The grocer's apostrophe
If you’re not sure about how to use the apostrophe correctly the temptation is to put it in all over the place, you know, just in case.
Which is why you see signs advertising banana’s, potato’s and carrot’s rather than simply bananas, potatoes and carrots.
The simple way to remember it is that apostrophes are never used in plurals.
Some examples of correct usage:
One banana – two bananas
The banana’s colour is such a distinctive yellow
One potato – two potatoes (three potatoes, four)
The potato's well-known for its high starch content
This also extends to abbreviations and decades:
CDs, GCSEs, MPs, the ‘90s
CD's, GCSE's, MP's, the '90's
And a new favourite, spotted outside a Mediterranean restaurant recently - tapa's instead of tapas.
Its and it's
This is a quirky one - it’s so easy to get this wrong!
It’s is a shortened form of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’
It’s on telly every night
Call us now - it’s the best way of getting results
Its is a possessive meaning ‘of it’
The local bakery is loved by all its customers
Who's and whose
Who’s is an abbreviation of who is.
Whose means ‘of whom’
Here’s some examples:
Alan Partridge, who’s the most popular presenter on Radio Norwich
Steve Coogan, whose character Alan Partridge is based on a radio presenter, is a versatile comedian
Your and you're
Mixing these two up is a common mistake.
Your always means belonging to you
You’re is just short for ‘you are’
Here's some examples of both:
Thanks for your birthday present
Finding florists in your area
In your opinion, was it one of his best films?
You’re winding me up!
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