Apostrophe Gaffes | WebReference

Apostrophe Gaffes

Continued Disintegration of the Apostrophe

If you are interested in Server Side Includes (SSI), then you may be interested in http://www.sonic.net/~nbs/unix/www/ssi/ . However, I avoid that Web site like the plague because of how it pluralizes SSI even when using a graphic, no less! Again, is SSI a live, breathing person??? NO! So, quit giving it an unnecessary personality! SSIs are indeed powerful, but look so weak with the added you-should-know-what-by-now!

If you think this is the end of nonsensical pluralizing, think again. An often recommended Web site for SQL tutorials is riddled with ugly apostrophe esses including "and's," "or's," and "not's." If you're brave enough and your head can withstand the pain of hair pulling, then go look at it:


A very well known arts and crafts store has a no-no on its Web site. Check out MJDesigns ( http://www.mjdesigns.com/ ) and look at the menu on the bottom to see if you can spot the error. Yessiree, poor Mr. A. Strophe has been mistreated again.


Here We are in '01, What Do the Rest of the Zeros Hold for Us?

One of the things that strikes me as weird about the 2000s is we no longer have the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and so on. One resource calls the 2000s, the naughts as in naught-one, naught-two (gesundheit, Meryl!). But others say there is no official name. It will be interesting to see how people abbreviate the naught years because rarely do we ever see '60s, '70s, and '80s written correctly. Which to use? Glad you asked, my dear GASPer.

If you are referencing a calendar year in a shortened format, then use '70. If you speak of my wonderful and grouchy (she was 94, she earned the right!) grandmother (z"l) (no, that is not a typo, it's a secret language), then leave out the damned (sorry, Grandma, it had to be said) apostrophe! If you put it there, then you're saying she lived to be 1990 years old! Believe it or not, a major local newspaper wrote, "Even after retirement, Lil continued to volunteer until she was well into her 80's." Ah-buh-buh-ba! It should be "80s." Guess what? This is from an online obituary! A little respect for the dead, please.

http://www.masryvititoe.com/Erin.htm ( Example of what NOT to do – 6th paragraph )
http://www.ghplus.com/notebook/12-02-99.shtml http://www.language-international.com/11_6/story-11.html

If your Web site uses "FAQs" without the victimized apostrophe, ignore the next sentence. I mentioned it once before http://www.webreference.com/new/webgrammar2.html and I will it mention again because it's one of the biggest nuisances on the Web. STOP WRITING FAQ APOSTROPHE ess! I wrote a friendly and gentle e-mail to a webmaster to let him know that it was "FAQ." The guy had the nerve to write back and said, "You can suggest it, but I won't change it. FAQ's is used on millions of sites from personal home pages to major corporations, educational institutions, and federal, state and local goverment sites." ( notice, he misspelled the word "government." ) How rude! Well, GASPers, let's show him! Start spreading the word! "NO MORE APOSTROPHE ESS IN FAQ!"

End of Apostrophe Discussion

Good news, if you care! Future articles will rely more on the Chicago Manual of Style and Strunk & White's The Elements of Style because Ms. Two Syllables Not One finally raised enough dough to replace her prehistoric editions. Yeah, yeah, I know some of you wrote to me asking to refer to other ( fill in the blank with your favorite ) dictionary and style guides. Don't you remember what your daddy said? "Money does not grow on trees!" Besides that, not even Strunk's book is unabridged. So, I do use other lesser-known references and the Internet.

Now, go forth EGGers and spread the word! Not to worry, in the immortal words of Arnold, "I'll be back!" Unless, of course, (a) something tragic happens ( pthththth - spitting fingers ), (b) this article sucks so much or you're so unforgiving for my previous boo-boo that y'all protest to Boss King to fire me ( Guess what! I'm not an employee! ), or (c) the world magically starts writing perfect grammar ( excuse me while I recover from the burst of laughter ).


Bio: Meryl like Cheryl, your EGG founder and leader, writes for The Dallas Morning News and dot com newsletters, Web designs, writes and coordinates newsletters for Internet Business Forum http://www.ibizhome.com, co-teaches a Web multimedia online class. She continues to figure out why people cannot pronounce her name right and yet, Hollywood always gets Meryl Streep's correct. If you care to find her, she's at: http://www.meryl.net > or send her an e-mail: meryl@onramp.net >.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 18, 2001 edition of the WebReference Update Newsletter.

Produced by Meryl Evans and
Created: January 19, 2001
Revised: January 25, 2001

URL: http://www.webreference.com/internet/writing/grammar/