Mini-Rumination: Ode to the Apostrophe

While driving the prodigal nephew to school one recent drizzly morning, The Curmudgeon heard a brief story on National Public Radio about a venerable business that is eliminating the apostrophe in its name.  He can’t recall the name of the company, but let us say, for the sake of advancing this discussion, that the company’s name was “Waterston’s” and it was changing its name to “Waterstons.”  The explanation offered for the change was that in the internet age, the apostrophe was posing an obstacle to the company’s electronic commerce ambitions.

The story went on to mention an organization devoted to the preservation of the apostrophe:  the Apostrophe Protection Society.  (By the way, if nothing else, The Curmudgeon hopes this entry demonstrates conclusively that he’s not very attentive to the radio when he’s driving.  He considers this, as Martha Stewart might opine, a good thing.)

The society is British, and as its web site – which you can find here – sadly demonstrates, rather humorless.  The Curmudgeon draws no conclusions about whether the humorlessness can be traced to the group’s British origins.

The Curmudgeon was absolutely charmed by the idea of an organization dedicated to the protection of the apostrophe; anyone who reads this blog and imagines The Curmudgeon to be anything less than a total fussbudget about the correct use of punctuation needs to think again.  He was so charmed, in fact, that he was inspired to break into verse about this sometimes misunderstood and frequently abused form of punctuation.

 

It produces enormous

joy for me

When I see correct use

of the apostrophe.

 

It makes me mad,

I want to fight

When people don’t use their

apostrophes right.

 

We learned it in school

with such care and precision

Yet our practices today

merit such great derision.

 

Don’t use it to turn your nouns

into plural

It broadcasts your flaws

like a forty-foot mural.

 

Pay attention to detail

and do be obsessive

About using the apostrophe

to signal the possessive.

 

In using apostrophes

to make a contraction

Make sure you choose well

between addition and subtraction.

 

When choosing between “its” and it’s”

or “you’re” or “your” (or “yore”)

Please harken back to those grammar school lessons

you learned so many years before.

 

Because it produces such

joy for me

To see correct use

of the apostrophe.

 

If this all seems hard-hearted to you

Like the writer is wielding a bludgeon

Using your apostrophes in all the right ways

Will make you a friend of The Curmudgeon.

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Comments

  • Peaches Shimmerdeep  On February 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Poetry and grammar? I have never been more attracted to you…

  • Peaches Shimmerdeep  On February 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Actually, my comment should have been “poetry and punctuation”…then we would have had alliteration, too. (But it was early on a Sunday, and I wasn’t in top form…)

Trackbacks

  • By Venting a Little About Words | The Four-Eyed Curmudgeon on September 12, 2018 at 6:02 am

    […] – as you can see, if you wish to refresh your memory here (commas), here (odds and ends), here (apostrophes), here (more apostrophe’s), here (overuse of a word), here (terrible use of a word), […]

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