Once upon a time, an apostrophe sat beneath a Bo tree and contemplated the origin of suffering within its curly tail.
A Bee bumbled upon the apostrophe. ‘Why are you crying?’
The apostrophe looked up. ‘Because I am abandoned and alone.’
‘Well,’ said the Bee, and settled on the ground beside the apostrophe. ‘Your not alone anymore.’
The apostrophe stared at the Bee for a long moment – and then crushed the Bee with its curly tail.
‘IT’S YOU’RE, YOU ASSHOLE!’
I’m with the psychotic apostrophe on this one. Never, in the history of the written word, has a punctuation mark been so maligned, misunderstood, abused and abjured. No wonder it’s gone a bit dot-dot-curly-wurly-cuckoo. Let’s take that asshole and do a short edumercaytional lesson:
your = that asshole belongs to you, you own it, it is yours, congratulations!
you’re = when you behave like an asshole, you are – you’re – an asshole, congratulations!
Rules on the use of apostrophes are actually very simple. Perhaps they’re (ooh, an apostrophe!) too simple, who knows?
- To indicate the possessive
- This is the apostrophe’s story. It is a gruesome tale, whereby the apostrophe’s tail dismembers a stupid Bee.
- Personal pronouns (my, his, hers, theirs, yours, ours etc) don’t need an apostrophe because they’re already possessive, like Gollum, my precious.
- To indicate missing letters (commonly known as contractions)
- It’s bloody annoying when people don’t use apostrophes correctly.
- Sometimes to indicate the structure of unusual words
- I bcc’d my BFF to tell her to mind her p’s and q’s when it comes to apostrophes, otherwise the Red Pen Serial Killer will be paying her a midnight visit.
And that’s it. It’s also worth bearing in mind that apostrophes really hate it when they’re used to incorrectly indicate a plural, so let’s recap on the fruits of our apostrophic labours:
Writing stories is a little bit like being in labour. Let’s make sure that we pay attention to our contractions so we don’t give birth to any self-published carnival monster’s. <–I did that on purpose.
p.s. I haven’t forgotten the Bee Who Couldn’t Spell – that bumbling idiot will be centre stage in the next post…