I realize I am a snob when it comes to grammar. Worse, I'm sure I make my fair share of typos (typo's? typos'? ty'pos?), given that I spend most of my day pounding out emails and instant messages by the hundreds. But dammit--it's shameful when college-educated people (MANY OF THEM EDUCATORS THEMSELVES) cannot use an apostrophe to save their (they're?) lives. Forget the comma, the semicolon, the colon--they are all just instruments of torture. But I think anyone can be taught how to use a frigging apostrophe. It's (its?) not that hard. Here's a quick overview:
I found myself suffering another bout of grammar depression just this morning. I was in the drive-up line at Tim Horton's (yes, that's possessive, folks) when I saw a van with this painted on the side:
Fine Touch Window Washing's
Come ON. You had your WORK VAN PAINTED and no one made sure you were SPELLING THE NAME OF YOUR COMPANY CORRECTLY? I weep.
Is there a school somewhere teaching that, if a word ends in 's', you need an apostrophe? I really don't get it. When I was a youngster learning how to use these darn little hooks, I sure wasn't bold enough to just splash them where ever. I was careful to ask myself, "is this possessive? Is this a contraction? What are the rules for the situation I'm in?" I asked myself these questions until the usage because more natural for me.
I know this makes me a b*tch, but I'm putting this out there for the good of the many: people judge you when you use poor grammar. If you are an educator sending letters home with crap like "...student's need to..." strewn about (real example, by the way), parents will THINK YOU ARE STUPID. Pick up a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style and make it your business to learn from these masters. It does not matter if you are teaching science (s'cience?), English, or wood shop--you had to take English to graduate. So prove that you showed up for class.
Rant over. But would it be wrong for me to paint over the apostrophe on the Fine Touch work van? ;-)
The holiday of my people: http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/
Cari, I dedicate this post to you...I would be lost without our fierce instant-messaging sessions over poor diction and apostrophe abuse (abus'es'?) :-)