cornerstone remodeling white kitchen remodel single wide mobile home kitchen remodel beach condo remodel kitchen upgrades .. Chicago Drug testing

Apostrophe Usage Made Simple

According to one of my previous articles, whenever a Southerner says "Y'all watch this," get out of the way because those are probably the last words he will ever say.

Well, I'm a Southerner. I used to live in the southeastern United States, but I moved to the southeast of China. And, I'm about to say the magic words:

Y'all watch this.

The word is "week." If I want to talk about more than one week, like what I wrote a few weeks ago, I'll use weeks. No apostrophe. If I want to talk about something belonging to a week, such as "last week's newsletter," I'll use an apostrophe.

That's the rule. If it's a noun, s makes it plural and apostrophe-s makes it possessive. It's just that simple.

If I were still in the US, and I wanted one of those fancy carved signs that are so common on southern lawns, it would not read "The LaRocca's." The LaRocca's what? His lawn? His sign? That apostrophe makes it singular possessive, so The LaRocca (one person) is surely claiming ownership of something. If that wasn't his intent, and he whacked in an apostrophe anyway, he's an idiot.

What about plural possessive? Is it "the LaRoccas' house" or "the LaRoccas's house?" Well, it's neither, since my wife isn't a LaRocca and we don't own a house. But for the sake of this article, pretend she is and we do.

In ON WRITING, Stephen King swears it's LaRoccas's. When I was a student, my teachers swore it was LaRoccas'. As an editor, I've heard the first was US standard and the second was UK standard. And the answer is, I don't care. Just be consistent.

I once met an editor who said that the spelling determines pronunciation. She's an idiot. Spelling isn't all pronunciation. It's also history. I'll say LaRoccas-zz whether it's LaRoccas' or LaRoccas's. So will you.

Jump up five paragraphs and read the seventh word. Noun. Note that I didn't write pronoun. Just for fun, the rule for pronouns and apostrophes is completely different.

It's is a contraction for "it is" and its is possessive. Who's is a contraction for "who is" and whose is possessive. There's is a contraction for "there is" and theirs is possessive. Etc. Possessive pronouns never use apostrophes. Its, whose, your, yours, their, theirs...

And there you have it. Apostrophe usage made simple.

Copyright 2005, Michael LaRocca

Michael LaRocca's website at http://www.chinarice.org was chosen by WRITER'S DIGEST as one of The 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. His response was to throw it out and start over again because he's insane. He teaches English at a university in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, and publishes the free weekly newsletter WHO MOVED MY RICE?

In The News:

The Top Five Writing Mistakes Professionals Make

Yes, you know your subject. You also need to think... Read More

Revising Your Manuscript: Fourteen Questions to Ask Yourself

1) Can you summarize the story in about a sentence... Read More

Top Ten Ways to Write Like a Pro Checklist

Sure you can write, but can you write crisp, compelling... Read More

Another Way to Show Your Expertise: Write a Book!

Maybe you should write a book! This is not as... Read More

A Writers Personal Cheer Squad

We all need a cheer squad.We all need people to... Read More

How To Be A Published (Non-Fiction) Author

1. Turning your idea into a bookWith non-fiction books the... Read More

Do You Know How To Write English For Global Audiences?

When you write for international audiences, mainly directly in English,... Read More

How I Became a Syndicated Columnist -- And You Can Too!

Real Estate has "Location, location, location," and writing has "Clips,... Read More

7 Writing Muse Kickers to Fill Up That Blank Page

Nothing is more daunting for any writer than having to... Read More

Generating Nonfiction Book Titles Without a Hassle

The process of developing a working title for your nonfiction... Read More

That Cute Lil Ol Apostrophe

Have you ever had a student write to tell you... Read More

The Self-indulgent Writier

A writer can never be self indulgent whether writing fiction,... Read More

Getting Looked Over, Without Getting Overlooked: Writing for Scanners and Skimmers

* Scanning and Skimming Practices *Whether you're writing e-mail messages... Read More

Get Published: The Nuts and Bolts of Good English, and How to Impress a Publisher (3)

A well-punctuated approach letter may make the difference between acceptance... Read More

How To Cut the Clutter and Win Readers

Most of us hate housework.Nevertheless, even the most hopeless slobs... Read More

Get Creative In The Great Outdoors

Summer's here and the time is write for dancing in... Read More

How To Stay Fit While Writing

Day after day, writers tend to sit for hours writing... Read More

Story Building with Imagination

In the words of Aristotle, "happiness is self contentedness helping... Read More

7 Reference Books for Your Desk

I hate to admit this, but I rarely get an... Read More

Arouse Your Short Story And See It Published

Are you ready to abandon your short stories? Before you... Read More

Get Published: The Nuts and Bolts of Good English, and How to Impress a Publisher (1)

Not all writers write good grammar. That's a fact. It's... Read More

Overcome Writers Block with Snake Dancing

Writer's block! Even columnist Dave Berry has it. He admits... Read More

Zany Ideas That Increase Writing Productivity And Quality

Welcome to the zany ideas of a productive writer. My... Read More

Increase Your Web Traffic By Using Keyword Articles

If you have an online home based business you know... Read More

Writing IS a Business

Why is it that so many people don't take writing-as-a-job... Read More

global induction lighting led street lights Pete's produce ..
global induction lighting led street lights Pete's produce ..