With­out even try­ing, it seems I’ve had a bit of a theme in my writ­ing posts recent­ly: writ­ing blun­ders on social media. Have you read my posts on alot vs a lot and the overuse of the ellipses?

It seems I’ll be car­ry­ing on this theme with today’s post: the use of the apos­tro­phe when writ­ing plu­rals.

I have seen many peo­ple use the apos­tro­phe to make a word plur­al, even friends and fam­i­ly. Here are some exam­ples:

  • I love eat­ing the blueberry’s.
  • That’s where the Smith’s live.
  • Please turn off the light’s.

In each of these instances, this is a wrong use of the apos­tro­phe. Gen­er­al­ly (as is the case in the 3 exam­ples above), apos­tro­phes indi­cate pos­ses­sion. Here are 3 alter­nate exam­ples that show the prop­er use of the apos­tro­phe:

  • I love eat­ing the blueberry’s flesh.
  • That’s where the Smith’s dog lives.
  • Please turn off the light’s switch.

Now, you can eas­i­ly see the dif­fer­ence between how the apos­tro­phe was used incor­rect­ly and how it is used cor­rect­ly.

If you need to indi­cate some­thing is plur­al, just add an “s” (or change the “y” to “i” and “es”, etc).

  • I love eat­ing the blue­ber­ries.
  • That’s where the Smiths live.
  • Please turn off the lights.

Using the apos­tro­phe for plu­rals is not only wrong, it takes more work. Why waste time when you can save time?

What writ­ing gaffe do you see most often in social media posts and com­ments? Let me know in the com­ments below. I can’t wait to see them.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness. Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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