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Apostrophe Apostasy

In my column today I profile John Richards, who founded a group in England devoted to saving the apostrophe. It's illustrated with a lovely photo of the 84-year-old retired journalist sitting in a garden.

If I'd had the time, I would have liked to have snapped a photo of the apostrophe being misused. John's Web site features a gallery of misused or missing apostrophes. Surely there are plenty around here.

Seen a sign that says "Tire's for sale" or "Steves' Towing"? Snap a photo and send it to me at Perhaps we can shame some sense into people.

-- John Kelly

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 23, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
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How about any road sign that refers to "Tysons Corner"?

Posted by: wiredog | February 23, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I was watching Food Network's Challenge yesterday. The theme: "Miley Cyrus' Sweet Sixteen."

For some grammar laughs, I always enjoy
I don't remember any recently so you may have to look for some of the older posts. Here is one:

I think there are also some on the Fail Blog, but I haven't read that in awhile.

Posted by: dragnchic9 | February 23, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Kelly,

As egregious as the misuse of the hallowed apostrophe may be, the grammatical error that drives me crazy is the misuse of the possessive pronoun "your" when a writer intends to use the contraction for "you are", e.g. "your welcome". Does no one understand the proper use of "you're"? I see it all the time in e-mails, and the offender is often an allegedly well-educated person.

Posted by: Slinger61 | February 23, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the article very much. Coming from a non-English speaking background, learning to write with correct grammar is always a challenge. I went through this one particular paragraph in the article several times and still do not 'get' it. Please help. Here is the paragraph:

Also, I notice quite a lot of people now, if a word ends in an S, don't put an apostrophe after the S, just an apostrophe.

Posted by: panhualu | February 23, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

On a related note, when did italicizing titles give way to using quotation marks? I notice in John's column today that James Goode's book title is in quotes, and italics in the Post's book reviews have now become quotes. It's (apostrophe!) disconcerting -- I think a quoted reference is to an article or essay or chapter, rather than a book. Is it less expensive to print little quotation marks than a string of italics? Is it too difficult for writers and readers to know the difference?

Posted by: LynnHollway | February 24, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Misuse of apostrophes is one of my biggest pet peeves. I found one today at of all places. Check out the second sentence in the first paragraph:,8599,1881588,00.html?cnn=yes. I sent an e-mail this morning to point out the error, but it hasn't been fixed yet.

Posted by: alindemans | February 25, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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