Last month it was easier to spot a misplaced apostrophe than a snowflake in my town. Two signs in particular irked me.
I know that the teachers don’t put up the sign outside the school, but I hoped that at least one of them would point out the error in “Thank you veteran’s!!” I waited all month for the school to fix the sign, but it never did. The sign stood for weeks as a painful smear on the school’s reputation and a poor example for the students.
The other sign wasn’t something handwritten in a mom-and-pop store but a preprinted sign in a regional grocery store chain. I wonder how many people missed that mistake before it was printed and delivered to about 100 stores.
It baffles me when people make the mistake of trying to form a plural with an apostrophe. Some possessive uses of an apostrophe can be confusing, but rarely is an apostrophe used to form a plural. For example, you might need it for clarity if you’re talking about minding your p’s and q’s.
So before you stick an apostrophe in a word willy-nilly, ask yourself whether it is forming a possessive or substituting for omitted letters or figures.
Which punctuation mistake most bothers you?