Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cool Kids Know How to Punctuate

If you want to learn the correct way to use an apostrophe, you're in the right place. But let's not jump ahead too quickly. Every good lesson about the right way to do something starts with a little mockery of everyone who does it wrong. So let's proceed.

The only thing better than laughing at stupid people is laughing at large groups of stupid people, sometimes called "Corporations". It's funny to see corporations make dumb mistakes, because you know that the mistake was seen by at least 18 levels of management before it reaches us, the lowly consumer, yet still they got it wrong. The example in today's class is the correct use of the apostrophe. This tid bit of useful knowledge seems to have eluded 99.9999999999% of literate people. (And if you're wondering, it eluded 100% of illiterate people--duh.) If you already know how to use the apostrophe correctly, you should go look in the mirror right now and say "congratulations" to yourself. You are among the .00000000001% elite who didn't fall asleep that day in 4th grade English class.

Chuckle #1:

This sign, found at ROSS - Dress for Less, indicates that these DVDs possess something, but what? The DVD's display area? The DVD's department? The DVD's place in your heart? The sign is incomplete! But wait, did they mean to simply state that there are many DVDs to be seen here, otherwise know as PLURAL? Then why is there an apostrophe? One logical answer could be that ROSS is a discount store. They make very little money on the things they sell because they are crappy and defective and must sell them for next to nothing. So they can't afford (boo-hoo) to hire a qualified editorial staff to write correct text for their display signs. So if you aspire to work for Ross in the store visual department, here is what you need to know to put someone out of a job and put yourself in the driver's seat toward corporate success:

Most nouns get an "s" added to them when there are more than one. More than one nugget = nuggets. There are some cases where a noun has its own special version of the word for its plural form, such as "Cities". There's no quicker way to look like an idiot than to write "I went to many citys during my trip." But if you catch someone describing many cars with the word "car's" you have every right to tease them about it.

There are only two instances when one should use apostrophe+s:

1) To indicate the possessive of a noun: The cat's balls. The dog's bone. The president's low approval ratings. Ryan Seacrest's funny hair.. and so on.

(Note: Contrary to popular practice, it is also correct to add apostrophe + s to singular words ending in "s". "Chris's house" should not be "Chris' house" although that is so commonly done that it's accepted in spite of its incorrect use. The truly correct use of the s+apostrophe is only to indicate possession for PLURAL NOUNS. "Players' Union" to indicate the union of many players. "the cows' barn" to describe the place where many cows live, etc.

2) When you are writing a contraction. There's (for "there is"), here's (for "here is"), it's (for "it is").

Note: You should not add apostrophe+s to the word "it" when "it" possesses something. You just write "its" and the word is already possessive. For example: "The dog licks its tush." "It's" is only to be used as a contraction of "it is". (Never mind that "Tush" is probably the goofiest word in the English language.)

There you have it. So simple, yet so impossibly confusing to so many. Among those many:Catherine should be sad that she spent all that money on this big fancy sign for her "plus sizes" store. All she needed to do was shell out an extra few bucks for an apostrophe. But judging from Catherine's attention to detail, she'd probably use the apostrophe like this: "Catherines plus size's". Then her store would need to be egged.

Oh wait, I found Catherine's apostrophe. It was stolen by Han for his beauty store, which you'll notice from the roof of the building, is in the same shopping center as Catherine and her plus sizes. Kudos to Han for using his apostrophe correctly, but I'm afraid he loses all credit for knowing the English language with his wacked spelling of the word "Store". Do not shop here:

Nice try Han. You were so close to being cool. Unless your last name is "Solo" then you're washed up. Don't you know that you can't sell beauty? Stop deceiving people and get a real job.