apostrophe catastrophe – and it’s getting possessively(sic) worse!

Forgive me for turning my attention away from the larger issues of the day, but as a writer, I can no longer avert my gaze!

Pity the poor apostrophe, who seems doomed to live an existence of misuse, misalignment, misappropriation, and a torturous life of being utterly misunderstood. It’s as though it’s one minute before midnight — and an egg sac the size of the Milky Way has suddenly burst and spewed countless numbers of these once-sparse punctuation marks in great profusion!

If you’re bugged by apostrophe questions and/or concerns, check out U.K.-based The Apostrophe Protection Society here.

If you believe that words (and punctuation marks) are living, breathing organisms, you may enjoy my earlier post, the secret life of words revealed, here.

Apostrophe Catastrophe!

They’re everywhere, eight billion strong
Here and there and mostly wrong!
They’ve lost their way midst bits and bytes,
The spawn of punctuational troglodytes!
They sidle up to every “s”
And question, “I should be here? Yes?”
The lonely “s”, a timid letter, thinks
“What the heck? Makes me look better!”
Amidst this proliferative, unholy mess
My eyeballs roll, I must confess
I just don’t get why it’s so dang tough!
(I’ll give you their, there, and they’re if you want it rough!)
Has some new gene surfaced – formerly recessive –
Forcing writers everywhere to adopt the demon possessive?
Parking for Car’s? The sign makes me weep!
Worker’s Wanted/Daytime Hour’s? The world is replete!
They’re everywhere that we don’t want them to be
Keep it simple, sweetie! It’s one tree, and thirty-two TREES!
Upwardly mobile commas spout haphazard elation
Scattered hither and yon with no sane explanation,
Quick! Gather them up for rehabilitation
Return them their dignity! Resist commodification!
Dispossessed and frequently misunderstood,
The apostrophe yearns to be used well (and good)!
Standing in for the missing – as in won’t, don’t, and can’t
And declaring belonging: Bob’s shirt, Julie’s pants!
That thing is his, hers, or yours, ours, or its –
It’s not inconsequential! It gives some of us fits!
Truth be told, the apostrophe is truly reclusive
She neither clamors for glamour nor the air of exclusive
Her prayer is but this:

Could y’all possibly be just a bit less abusive?

4 thoughts

  1. Wow – my soul mate, at last…

    I hate to begin with a quarrel but would you consider being more open-minded about semicolon usage? E.g., you might have considered your sentence punctuated as follows:

    “Pity the poor apostrophe, who seems doomed to live an existence of misuse; misalignment; misappropriation; and a torturous life of being utterly misunderstood.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think this reads with more emphasis and even a certain dramatic flair that befits the gravity of the subject matter.


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