With the decision by Waterstones to remove the apostrophe from the company name, this particular punctuation mark is on our minds more than ever. But it is not usually the omittance of the apostrophe that causes outcry but the misuse – what I like to call the errant apostrophe – when it is placed at an incorrect place in a word or added where it is not necessary.
At my company we receive frequent corporate communications announcing changes of process and the like. Apostrophe misuse was happening so frequently that we now play a weekly game – spot the errant apostrophe.
The frequent offenders are things like “and protect our clients’.” Note the full stop after the word clients – no apostrophe required. I think the one that gets the top prize though is “to effectively manage our risk’s and comply with best practice.”
It may be too late for some already but please cry out for grammar lessons to be compulsory for all before the apostrophe becomes permanently errant and stop it from tormenting those of us in the know (or close enough to it anyway).