An apostrophe walks into a coffee shop, and…

writing pen

Weapon of mass production: the humble writing pen. Image courtesy of cohdra, Morguefile.


(Apostrophe shuffles in the door)

THE EDITOR: Hey, Apostrophe, how are you? What’s going on?

APOSTROPHE: Oh, man…..

THE EDITOR: Apostrophe, you don’t look so hot. Come on, sit down here. I’ll buy you a skinny latte.

APOSTROPHE: (sighs wearily): All right.

THE EDITOR: So come on, spill it. What’s happened?

APOSTROPHE: I’m just spread around so much these days. You know I don’t mind working hard, right? (Editor nods) I stand in for those vowels and consonants all the time. Whenever they need me — I stand in for the “O” in haven’t, don’t, won’t, wouldn’t and isn’t and the “A” of you’re and they’re. I replace the “G” in sayin’ and thinkin’. I even stand in for the “ou” in y’all and the “ha” of you’ve and the “wi” of we’ll.

THE EDITOR: That’s true. As long as I’ve known you, you’ve been the hardest working punctuation mark I know.

APOSTROPHE: But now they’re putting me in places I shouldn’t belong.

THE EDITOR: (astonished) Really?

APOSTROPHE: A lot of people are messing me up. I get put on the wrong side of a possessive case a lot.

THE EDITOR: (curiously) How so?

APOSTROPHE: Whenever I go in, somebody can’t quit figure out where I belong. If I’m not plural, they put me on the wrong side of the “s”, like  on “The Smith’s” mailbox when it should just be “The Smiths”. ARRRRRGH! People don’t get the “it” thing either.

THE EDITOR: The “it” thing?

APOSTROPHE: When I’m used to replace the second “I” in “it is”, that’s fine. But people think that I’m in possessive case too. Such as, you know, “it’s” when it should be “its”. What’s a self-respecting punctuation mark to do? They call, I go.

THE EDITOR: Okay, I get it. (thinks a moment) Apostrophe, maybe you just need a break. Let the vowels and consonants look after themselves for a while. Hmmm…where could you go?

APOSTROPHE: Good question. It would have to be somewhere that has a language they don’t use me for any purpose, and they use me a lot. German, Greek, French, Esperanto, Catalan, Dutch, Turkish, Hawaiian, Russian, Breton.

THE EDITOR: I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Feel better now, Apostrophe?

APOSTROPHE: Yes, thanks, Editor.

THE EDITOR: (smiles) No problem. Send me a postcard, will you?

APOSTROPHE: Will do. (grins back)



Filed under Writing

27 responses to “An apostrophe walks into a coffee shop, and…

  1. Well, actually, it’s the Smith’s mailbox, but the Smiths live there. Just saying 🙂

  2. That was fun. What makes me crazy is when people use the poor fellow after TLAs and (Two and Three Letter Acronyms). F’rinstance: The PM’s decided to work on the project together. It should just be PMs. Or “The SSB’s separated from the liquid booster at the exact same second.”

  3. Jaclyn

    So cute! Poor apostrophe. Improper apostrophe use is one of my pet peeves, too. Sets my teeth on edge every time I see “the Smith’s” or “it’s” possessive.

  4. You are so clever. I am going to remember this, it is a keeper and made me smile. Let me know when apostrophe is back from vacation so I can use him again. 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on First Night Design and commented:
    Incorrect use of the apostrophe is my bete noir, as anyone who read my punctuation post will know.

  6. I’m feeling apo’s pain. Came across a realtor’s description of a house with incorrect apos. My fingers itched for some white-out.

  7. 🙂 I do feel sorry for the apostrophe. Misuse is common and admittedly it sometimes looks weird on the outside of the letter. LOL really weird.

  8. Oh dear oh dear. As long as I have to use a lap top and can’t touch type on my old ergonomic keyboard, I fear MR. Apostophe will depend on autocorrect!

  9. Reblogged this on Random Acts of Writing and commented:
    This is for all those apostrophes out there! *laughs*

  10. Very good post. Well, Apostrophe is getting a definite rest from me these days with my current assignment with absolutely no contractions! I hope it is enjoying its vacation from my computer!

  11. LOVE this humorous take on one of my biggest grammatical pet peeves. I saw far too often during graduation season! (And subsequently wanted to send the offender straight back to school.) 🙂

  12. In the UK misplaced apostrophes used to be called ‘greengrocer’s apostrophes’ (or ‘greengrocers’ apostrophes’ if you prefer) in reference to the many inaccurately chalked signs placed high on heaps of fruit and vegetables: Jersey Royal’s 1/6d or Nectarine’s 11d each. Even now, I sometimes hear the phrase ‘a touch of the greengrocer’ to describe a misplaced apostrophe!

  13. This is one of my favourite/most hated pet peeves in grammar, only overtaken by people who confuse ‘you’re’ and ‘your’, or ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ – and you explained it all so nicely, too!


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