Getting on and getting wiser
(aka “Greying and growing”)
USE OF THE APOSTROPHE
There’s spreading confusion about the proper use of the apostrophe (’) in written English. I have encountered a few questionable uses of the apostrophe two of which are quite wrong, and others that are not generally accepted as correct:
to pluralize a noun, for contraction, and to indicate the genitive (possessive) case:
(1) To Pluralize:
“The 1970’s were years of unrest” is not generally accepted. The better entry here is 1970s, not 1970’s.
(2) For Genitive (Possessive) Case:
“The cat lifted it’s tail” is incorrect. Pronouns in the possessive case do not use an apostrophe. The correct possessive pronoun is “its,” not “it’s.”
Related to this example is the confusion of ‘your’ (possessive case) with “you’re” (contraction of “you are”).
“You’re hair is nice” is incorrect: the correct possessive pronoun is “Your,” not “You’re.”
(3) To Indicate Omissions:
This is the commonest use of the apostrophe: to indicate that letters or words were dropped to make things shorter:
• “Don’t talk” is correct. (Few people makes mistakes in this use of the apostrophe.)
• “You’re smart” is correct; it is a contraction of “you are smart.”
• “Your smart” is incorrect. This is the kind of misuse that is becoming rampant.
Since all of the foregoing errors reflect the influence of spoken English on its written form, one can only conclude that composition/essay (the art of setting your ideas down in writing) is no longer well taught in the USA.
Anything to Contribute?
The list above isn’t exhaustive by any means. Perhaps you can send us examples you have encountered.