Editing, Incorrect grammar

The humble apostrophe – it’s not that difficult!

So I’ve been a little naughty this morning.

I received a very lovely email from a gentleman I’ve met before, albeit a few years ago, inviting me to a networking meeting not far from where I live. I can’t go. That’s beside the point.

The point is that, while I was reading through the email to see whether I might be able to attend (for networking is quite important for me at the moment, newly back from maternity leave as I am) I couldn’t help but notice some small but irritating errors in the way the email was written.

And this is by no means the only piece of written literature I’ve seen recently containing this kind of mistake. This email is not alone, it was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back… it simply arrived at the perfect time as I was sitting down to write about such matters.

Now I know that this is what I do. And I know that I’m a bit of a pedant about it. But really? Is the use of the humble apostrophe so difficult to grasp? It is NOT to be used when referring to plurals and is extremely annoying when used to denote the end and pluralisation of an acronym! It IS used to flag up possession (ie, the dog’s bone) and to illustrate that there are letters missing (ie don’t – the contracted form of ‘do not’).

Fair enough, there’s an anomaly when it comes to it’s and its. Here we only use the apostrophe when signally the missing letter (ie, it is – it’s) and not possession (ie, the dog chewed its bone). But seriously, is it that difficult to get right?

*Heave, grunt, thud, stagger, breathe*

There, that’s me climbing down of my high horse…

That's my high horse, there, on the right...

These were not the only errors in the aforementioned email, there were some other badly written sections and the over-zealous use of capitals splattered throughout. All of this pretty much amounted to me being, shall we say, ‘moved’ to reply to this email and suggest that, while I am unable to attend the meeting it was written to sell, I may be able to help with the slight rewording of the email to encourage more people to attend and not just delete the mail in a fit of pedantry (or perhaps that’s just me?).

I have since heard back from the gentleman I mentioned earlier and he, thankfully, took my email in the spirit it was intended – phew! I hope now to work with him to prevent any other hopeless fools such me being put off his doubtless excellent networking group simply because of some easy-to-fix errors. Here’s hoping!

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