apostrophe’s (a poem, and a small rant)

are rarely loved
they grow on tree’s
when their not shoved
out of the word’s
wots their’s by right
its not a very
pretty sight
it isnt all
they’re fault, you know,
they aint got nowhere
else to go.

If this resembles your lovingly crafted documentation / guide to your hobby / tutorial / code comment, you may want to enlist the help of a proof-reader. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. its – like his or hers, which also have no apostrophes, means “belonging to it”.
  2. it’s – like I’m, you’re, he’s, she’s, we’re and they’re, which have apostrophes for the missing letters, means “it is”.
  3. apostrophe’s – means “belonging to the apostrophe”. This kind of abuse is known as “the greengrocer’s apostrophe”, as some greengrocers suffer from the mistaken belief that a carrot is capable of owning 20p.
  4. would of – I think you want to use “would have”, or at worst “would’ve”. If you use this phrase and grew up in Luton I forgive you; otherwise there’s just no excuse. This is the phrase which sparked this little rant so I thought it worth including.

Most people are capable of glossing over things like this, but unfortunately there are a few of us who are allergic to them. It causes this glitch in our brains which makes us scream and bang our heads on the table; the only cure is to discuss the problem at length with everyone else in the office. Please help prevent this utter waste of time and resources by remembering these few simple rules (particularly rule 1).

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7 Responses to apostrophe’s (a poem, and a small rant)

  1. untermensch says:

    It causes this glitch in our brains which makes us scream and bang our heads on the table

    Even though I knew the poem was just there to prove a point, I still got an abrupt case of nausea from reading it!

  2. sirenian says:

    Try running into a “would of” halfway through a document. Almost as unpleasant as stir-fried crocodile.

  3. anonymous says:

    OMG, I totally agree! The worst offender is using “your” instead of “you’re”! And this is a crime committed by people who speak English as their first language!

  4. anonymous says:

    As a recovering English Lit Masters degree-holder-turned computer engineer, I have been suffering for years under the pain of reading computer programmers’ documentation.

    It’s nothing short of horrid. You forgot to mention that they cannot make a coherent sentence, or a well-formed one for that matter. And, don’t dare to ask them to describe something in a paragraph–who knows what blathering you’ll get! I’m surprised that these people’s code compiles sometimes.

    Thank you for speaking of their atrocities. Now I know I am not alone. Bless you, bless you, bless you. (Thrice makes a motif.)

    Now, back to that niggling NullPointerException . . . 😉

  5. anonymous says:

    I hate to be a pedant, but this seems to be a place for it …

    In number 1. its is actually like his and hers not him or her – a possessive pronoun.

    Just thought I’d clear that up

  6. sirenian says:

    You’re right; I was too busy frothing and spoilt the mnemonic. Fixed now.

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