Have you noticed how Apostrophe Man has been leaving his mark more and more often? How much marketing material do you receive, by email or hard copy, with apostrophes either in the wrong place or not there when they should be?
Many of us use apostrophes to incorrectly denote a plural, eg: CD's $19.99, in the 1990's, PC's on sale now
. You see this everywhere, don't you, and assume it's common usage. It might be used everywhere but it's still incorrect and pedants like me itch to get the TippEx out and fix it. These apostrophes are not denoting plurals, they are being possessive when they have nothing to be possessive about. In short, they simply shouldn't be there.
Sadly even the most educated of us fall prey to inappropriate apostrophe usage; I've received many letters and emails from marketing managers and experts with degrees in communications who still get it wrong. This is a personal thing but bad punctuation does turn me off using or buying the product or service it's promoting.
Then there's the confusion between its and it's. "It's" should only be used as a contraction of "It is". "Its" is actually a possessive pronoun like "yours" or a possessive determiner like "my".
There are several good books about language and punctuation which are easy reads, can set you straight and ensure your marketing material doesn't fall prey to Apostrophe Man and his evil band of language assassins. One is the stalwart Style Manual produced by the Australian Government Publishing Service
. The other is the marvellous Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
, which you and your employees will fight over. It's serious, but also seriously funny. Both these books can be purchased at booksellers.
End of gripe...go and check your marketing material and website now and consider your apostrophes! If you're in doubt about what's right, contact me to proof read your material for you.