Bête’s Noire’s Number Four: Apostrophe’s*

“I now understand that the punishment’s my parent’s gave to me were mean’t to make me a better man.”

Apparently, they weren’t interested in their son’s writing skills.

Granted, this is an extreme case (though not fictional, unfortunately).  Not many people believe an apostrophe actually belongs in the word ‘meant’. But hardly a day goes by during the semester that I don’t see this error in student work. The issue, of course, is simple. It’s a case of mistaken identity. A plural suffix –s is being confused with the possessive suffix of –’s.

I can understand being confused about where to put the possessive suffix. The rules aren’t elaborate but can present some snags: Continue reading