Grandma's Tales

October 4, 2006

Grammar – 4 The “s” syndrome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:56 pm

Two groups of people in love with the apostrophe are school kids and sign painters. In between bouts of dreaming, the kids vaguely hear the teacher say something like, “apostrophe and ‘s'” and are convinced there is an apostrophe before every “s” on earth. They pledge to place the punctuation mark without fail. They carry out their promise with gusto. There, that’s an “s”! Come on, let’s place the apostrophe before it!
And you have absurdities like,

Jame’s, X-ma’s tree, its’self, apple’s (to indicate more than one apple), ladie’s and of course, the incurable disease of writing your’s. You also have the phrase “Please replace the book’s.”

Sign painters have their own collection of gems. One wayside vegetable vendor has an entire wall filled with this legend: Vegetable’s Shop. This can be right only if his mom had decided to call her defenceless child Vegetable. If the guy’s objective was to announce that he sold vegetables on this footpath, he needed neither the apostrophe nor the “s”. Just plain Vegetable shop. No, not Vegetables shop. (We will take this point up in another post.)

You can take it from me: There is no apostrophe in the word “yours”. Repeat after me: No apostrophe in “yours”. And no apostrophe in the other words in the same group: its, hers, his, theirs, ours. They are personal pronouns.

This is its feather. The feather is its.
You bought this book. This book is yours.
He won a prize. The prize is his.
She wrote a letter. The letter is hers.
This land is ours. These houses are theirs.
This pen is yours.
Yours sincerely, Geeta.

Now we know which “its” has an apostrophe (it is / it has). We also know which words do not have them.

Apart from adding itself to “its” what is the apostrophe supposed to do?
That’s in the next grammar post.

Question of the day: Does the word “days” need  an apostrophe?
Change the days parameter and you’ll see some amazing data about your inbound link graph. Why /Why not?


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