Apostrophes are the one part of the English language that nobody will ever get right.
Just The Facts
- This is an apostrophe: '
- They are almost always used incorrectly.
- The words needing an apostrophe are usually best avoided. It will just end in tears.
Basic Rules Of Apostrophes: Plurals
An apostrophe should never be in a plural. This is the saddest form of apostrophe fuck- ups.
The "Greengrocer's apostrophe" is it's name, since grocers are the ones that do this. Nobody knows why.
If you've got two apples, then write apples, not apple's. It makes no fucking sense. If you can't replace the word with "their", "its", "his" or "her", and if it isn't a contraction, then an apostrophe SHOULDN'T BE THERE.
- People get confused when a word ends in a vowel, such as the word "tornado." Many people write "tornado's" instead of "tornados" or "tornadoes".
Not that you'd ever fuck with a tornado.
- If a single letter is plural, there's an exception here. If you were asking someone, perhaps a lady, "Who the hell put all these bloody I's in the word indivisibility?", then you would put an apostrophe right after the I. This is so it doesn't look like the word "is". But the nerds of today don't bother with an apostrophe and instead surround the single letter in quotation marks. As in "Who the hell put all these bloody "I"s in the word indivisibility?"
- Similarly, apostrophes can be used when talking about a word (e.g., this list contains a lot of do's and don't's) but quotation marks can make it clearer ("do"s and "don't"s). Confusing, or just plain annoying?
- Making an exception for numbers and abbreviations is not cool. MLA guidelines (not that their opinion matters to anyone) suggest that apostrophes don't belong with numbers. At this point, people don't care.