I’ve just been reading a blog which seems to have quite a large readership. It’s quite good. Entertaining, insightful, humorous in places. Apparently the guy has even landed a book deal from it. Impressive. Sense the approaching ‘however’.
I find it incredible that someone who pretty much writes for a living has no working knowledge of the Common Apostrophe. I know I’ve always been overly obsessive about this type of thing, and I’m really, really trying to let it go. For example, I no longer go through the Ballymena Guardian with a red pen every Wednesday, correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation (it was starting to become more of a full-time thing, and I just couldn’t keep it going along with my actual ‘job’.) A small child wrote me a sweet little note the other day and signed it “your’e friend”, and I fought every natural instinct telling me to correct and educate her, and instead said “Thank you so much, sweetheart, that’s so nice of you, I love it!”. The child was edified (as opposed to edited), and I felt like I had overcome an OCD. Everyone wins.
So you see, I am more easy-going than I once was. I repeat: HOWEVER. This blogger was not just making the odd typo here and there. I can overlook those – I’ve discovered them in my own work on occasion, and therefore realise that they are just what my teachers always referred to as ‘silly mistakes’. The occasional missing apostrophe, the careless use of ‘their’ instead of ‘there’, a split infinitive or two… I have reached a level of grammatical maturity (and attained an approved standard of general sanity) that allows me to be accepting and forgiving when it comes to these small errors. HOWEVER. This guy is in another league! The thing that has me utterly flummoxed is that he seems to be a good writer, with an admirable range of vocabulary and the rare ability to spell.
So why, oh why has he never taken the time to grasp the basics of Apostrophe Conduct?!!!!!!!!!!
Oh my goodness. It was that bad, I’m telling you – I’ve almost drowned myself in a sea of unnecessary exclamation marks. I eventually came to the conclusion that he didn’t know what an apostrophe was, as I didn’t see one over the course of about a dozen posts. At first, attempting to diagnose his condition, I figured that he didn’t know about the Apostrophe To Denote Ownership, which is – in my frustrated experience – a rather common ailment, generally worsened by the confusion arising from the whole its/it’s dilemma. I find that people suffering from this condition tend to panic and take a shot in the dark, resulting in several apostrophes landing in places where they were never required, others failing to land in appropriate places, and a select few hitting the right spot, in some sort of happy accident. My P7 teacher referred to this condition as the Salt and Pepper Apostrophe Shaker – you just sprinkle them desperately and cluelessly over your text and hopefully some will land in the right places. But Blogger Guy… no. Not a single apostrophe. Not even in places where – come on – it’s surely blantantly obvious to anyone that an apostrophe might sit very nicely in between two particular letters. It’s like he’s become angry with The Apostrophe. Maybe he acknowledged that he didn’t know how to use it properly, and decided not to use it at all, working off the “do it right, or don’t do it at all” motto. I am now going to write a few sentences to demonstrate this amazing and unique literary decision.
Its all very well saying its his blog and were given a choice about whether we read it or not. But theres a line, and hes definitely crossed it. Im confused – Ive never seen such good writing completely sans apostrophes, and Id hate to think that his books going to reflect his blogs style and mirror its apostrophe famine.
I’ve got one more HOWEVER, and this is the killer. You will note that every word ending with ‘s’ in that paragraph should have had an apostrophe, with the exception of ‘his’, ‘sans’, ‘apostrophes’ and – crucially – the final ‘its’. It’s ironic to the point of being sadistic, then, that when I did start to see some apostrophes appearing, it was because Blogger Guy would actually (I was forced to conclude after much confusion and painful analysis) have written the paragraph like this:
Its all very well saying its his blog and were given a choice about whether we read it or not. But theres a line, and hes definitely crossed it. Im confused – Ive never seen such good writing completely san’s apostrophe’s, and Id hate to think that his books going to reflect his blogs style and mirror it’s apostrophe famine.
I mean, WHAT ON EARTH?! I started to get really paranoid and think that he was doing it specifically to upset me, until I realised that was ridiculous. It has me completely baffled. He’s refusing to put a single apostrophe in its required position, and is very diligently putting them in all the places where they aren’t at all necessary and should in fact be illegal!!!!!!!!!!!! It makes me want to actually tear my hair out in utter frustration, I’m serious!!!!!!!! Look at all the exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I probably won’t sleep tonight, you know.
P.S. Writing a post like this really makes you paranoid about your spelling, grammar and punctuation. I’ve been over the entire thing about twenty times and still don’t have the courage to click ‘publish’, for fear of smug and delighted comments like “Interesting thoughts – but you realise you left out an apostrophe?”