Monday, October 19, 2009

The horror of a misplaced apostrophe

The last few days, I've been bothered by a poster in an elevator. Finally, I just had to take a picture of it with my low resolution cell phone camera.


It's a bit blurry, but its text is shown in the caption. Here the apostrophe is curiously placed.

According to the wikipedia article on the apostrophe, "it has two main functions: it marks omissions, and it assists in marking the possessives of nouns and some pronouns."

The omission in the text is clearly the first part of the year 2009. So, it should read, "Shop the Fall '09 collections..." with the apostrophe placed at the place where the omitted text is omitted.

Like quite a few of my posts, this one resonates with thousands of places on the web, including a clever collection of limericks, a plea for correct usage, and even t-shirts.

And for those wondering about its use in one particularly tricky case, it's explained with plenty of examples on

Thanks for reading.


Myrna said...

Mistakes like this bother me, too. (Especially if I make them!) Do you think that maybe some of us are just walking editors, and other people just don't even notice?

Bruce Conrad said...

Agreed on all counts. My personal mistake with apostrophe (until I learned better) was to use "'til" thinking that I was omitting "un". But it turns out that "till" was the original word and it morphed into "until" later. So, the apostrophe really ought to be before or after the "l" depending on which one you think is missing: "til'" or "ti'l"?

Ashlyn said...

I probably wouldn't have noticed this if I was in the elevator, but that's probably just because the internet has trained me to ignore ads. ;b When I'm reading something with the errors though, it usually sticks out and makes me wince.