Apostrophe apocalypse

Has anyone else noticed a bit of an apostrophe apocalypse lately? It seems everywhere I look, apostrophes are being used incorrectly. I don’t know why, but this is one of my pet peeves. I’ve seen it in newspapers, material written by professional organisations, and successful authors’ blogs. Drives me crazy! Is it really that hard?!

Here’s some examples I’ve seen recently:

  • From a published author’s blog:  A writers online presence can be a great tool to connect with readers.
  • From a daily newspaper with a large circulation: Worst scenario: loss of your life and possibly the loss of rescuers lives and others
  • From the newsletter of an organisation with more than 6,000 employees:  Pedestrian safety gate’s, similar to one’s seen overseas, have been installed at the busway tunnel entrance…
  • On the back of a bottle of dog shampoo:

(Yes, I took a photo of this in the supermarket)

  • On the wall of a football  stadium
  • (Yes, I took a photo of this when it was on TV)

Does this bother anyone else? Or do I seriously need to get a grip? (Feel free to say the latter!) 🙂

Do you think punctuation mistakes are becoming more frequent or have I just become more aware of them?

Let me know your thoughts…



Filed under Punctuation

25 responses to “Apostrophe apocalypse

  1. The Australian Writers’ Guild and the New South Wales Writers’ Centre still gets it right. 🙂

  2. Mari

    Grammar: the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit. Nuff said 🙂

  3. I share your frustration. I have to resist the urge to bust out a big red marker when I see posters lacking apostrophes or using them incorrectly.

  4. It does bug me. But I admit I make typos occasionally and don’t catch them until after I hit send or publish or whatever. When you’re in a rush, it’s easy to make a mistake. But for something permanent like a poster, a locker room sign, the back of a product – you should proofread! 🙂

    • Agreed! ‘Twas probably unfair of me to include the blog post one – I’m sure we’ve all had typos in those before. It’s the ones in permanent/professional stuff that really irk me! 🙂

  5. Actually, CNN just had an article about this issue recently. Not the apostrophes, specifically, but the whole grammar and punctuation issue. In the shrinking print business, copy editors have been the first to go in an effort to cut costs. Copy editing is one fastest shrinking fields, right now, because newspapers, etc just aren’t willing to pay them. The apostrophes are just the beginning.

    • It’s such a shame. You can definitely tell. You can also tell that they’re not teaching grammar in schools any more – so it’s hard to blame people who don’t know the rules.

  6. I suppose I have the same reaction to seeing too many sentences and paragraphs beginning with the word “and”.

  7. I have to say I very rarely notice lol


  8. I agree Cally. Punctuation errors are getting out of control!

  9. Libby Brain

    It’s interesting to note how many people really don’t get the whole apostrophe thing. Personally I’ve never really had a problem with it, but I see mistakes everywhere and, yes, it does irk me. By the way, I’m not so sure about the whole “And at the beginning of a sentence” thing. I was at a grammar workshop recently and it was put forward by the presenter that indeed it was acceptable, with the example being its common use in children’s picture books. Does this mean it’s O.K. or that these authors and publishers are actually using and condoning incorrect grammmar?

    • Interesting question. You may have noticed that I’m a fan of sentences starting with ‘and’. I have no doubt some of my posts have probably made you want to pull your hair out for this reason. You may be interested to know that The Little Green Grammar Book says it’s okay to start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. And that’s the rule I’m sticking with! 😉

  10. I am a grammar Nazi and I am proud. I can’t stand seeing these signs of apostrophe apocalypse. And you’re right, they are everywhere! What makes me MOST mad is when a writer gets away with it. Urrrrgh, have you people no pride in your supposed gift of language?

    Sad to say that nowadays I’m actually shocked to read a book that has no typos of this nature.

  11. Vicki Tremper

    I’ve noticed it, too, and it drives me crazy.

  12. Joanne Cork

    So proud of you, Cally – and Suse too. I think some of the problem is that there is very little direct teaching of grammar and punctuation rules. In the 70s I was told that grammar and sentence structure were not to be taught any more. Apparently students were supposed to absorb correct procedures naturally. Is it any wonder that most teachers now don’t know the rules themselves?

  13. Aaaaarg! It ticks me off! It seriously does. And all the other common grammatical errors. (And I love what Mari said!)

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