Open Letter

Dear Losers Users of the English Language,

Greetings, from the humble Apostrophe. Hope this letter finds you in good linguistic health.

I’m writing this to bring to your attention the gross injustice and pain that you’re causing me by misusing me in your written communications, not to mention sheer negligence when you skip writing me in a fit of laziness and/or ignorance.

Let me give you some background on my antecedants.

I’m a punctuation mark. I look like a single quotation mark, but that’s exactly where the similarity ends. I’m used under two broad conditions –

1. When you’re so lazy that you omit writing down certain letters. Example, don’t (where you omitted the ‘o’ of ‘not’), you’re (where you omitted the ‘a’ of ‘are’) and the likes.

2. When you want to talk about things you own, or in clearer terms, possess. Example, ‘This is John’s umbrella’ – I denote that the umbrella belongs to John.

Now to the things that cause me untold agony. It seems that a lot of you have absolutely no idea how and when to use me. Or more specifically, when not to use me. See, I’m a beautiful punctuation mark bringing a lot of meaning into your otherwise mundane words and I would expect atleast a cursory knowledge of my usage before you take it upon yourself to murder English grammar in cold blood with your humungous ignorance.

You do not use me for denoting a plural. No, you don’t. If you’re eating bananas, its “bananas” you should be writing, not “banana’s”!

You do not use me with possessive pronouns – like “hers”, “his”, “yours”, “its”. Especially “its”! The only time you use me as “it’s” is when you’re leaving out the “i” of “is” in “it is”. Capiche?

You do not use me with an “s” when the noun you’re referring to is already plural. There are no “kings’s crowns”, it’s just “kings’ crowns”.

And for the umpteenth time, “you’re” is not the same as “your”. If you do not realize that, you have no business conversing in English, please revert to using sign language, which honestly suits you best.

These are just some of the cases I have mentioned here. For more information, please take some time to read through the umpteen sites that have been opened in my name (bless their souls!), for my correct usage.

If you think I’m being unduly rude in this matter, please understand that it’s because of ages of gross misuse perpetrated by you and your fellow people and I’ve now officially run out of patience and hence am completely justified in using the language I deem fit to address you.

I do hope you appreciate my importance in the written language. If this kind of misuse does not stop, there will come a day when my friends and I will become extinct from this beautiful language and you all would have evolved backwards into using sign language (or maybe just grunts and groans like a regular troll) and drawing pictures on caves.

Thank you for your time and patience, and hope to see you soon in your writings – ofcourse,Β in the right place, for the right purpose!

Punctuationally yours,
(Signed: Apostrophe)


33 thoughts on “Open Letter

  1. this is really good..
    I am sure we all missed the presence of the sweet little Apostrophe in the bombastic ” Let’s stand up and deliver ” πŸ™‚ I am sure we will see her soon being invited to better places πŸ˜‰

    Lovely useful article, Good Job Priya .


  2. well well well, look who decided to grace my comment space! πŸ™‚ yes, we sure missed the apostrophe in that poster.. but didn’t you take a marker and draw it anyway? πŸ˜•

    oye, keep commenting ok? giving me feedback on OIC doesnt count..


  3. I like it! I always cringe when I read something that shouldn’t be used in the right place. It’s really difficult to understand unless I read twice and realise it’s another meaning.


  4. Wishbone – tell me about it! I used to get so irritated when I heard or read badly written english. Ruins my mood actually!

    Priya Iyer – πŸ™‚ god knows what you ‘actually’ do in this editing and developing content! πŸ˜‰

    KA – dude, beware..the apostrophe is going to come in your thookkam and kuththify your eyes.. (thookkam time no soda buddi no, thats y! epdi idea?) πŸ™‚ but hey, I used to love Wren and Martin’s.. I found it very useful..especially the small Key to Wren to Martin’s with all the answers πŸ˜‰


  5. A timely post useful for most bloggers! I used to mess up with these little guys big time in school (studying in kannada medium helped a lot in giving headaches to my english teacher! didn’t like her anyway) and even now, I cannot be too sure about being right πŸ™‚


  6. teacher teacher thank you teacher….

    very interesting post, i’ve seen many place an apostrophe and an extra “s” after words that end with “s”. Blame it on the lack of focus on grammar in schools.


  7. I’m one big offender , truth be told I must be stripped of the right to write in english ….speaking ofcourse is a lot easier (no apostrophe needed),lol.Besides I’m not a fan writing comments in tamil,lol.

    If I learn a bit from this post you will be blessed by my late english teacher, no less. A teacher who had give up all hopes of teaching me who must be wanting raise from her grave if only to stop me from writing in english,lol.

    Having said that , not all have the luxury to be tutored by expert english teachers nor in surroundings that imbibe good reading habits and even the fact that they may not be blessed with the same amount of grey matter so to speak.

    Even such people need to be encouraged to write, coz practice helps …. so from another standpoint as along as the meaning is conveyed, wat heck with small issues of grammar in the blog world.

    If it sounds Iam arguing my case , well i must say u guessed it right.


  8. Rusty N – happens! πŸ™‚ but I had this english teacher who used to scream murder if we spoke or wrote bad english.. when your life’s at stake, you manage to learn anything πŸ˜‰

    Max – I’m not sure about the other schools, but the convent schools I went to gave a lot of importance on good english skills..

    Juneborn – call me what you want, but I’m a stickler for writing correctly even if it’s someone’s orkut scrapbook! laziness gets to me at times (like now, when I’m not using init caps for sentence starts) though! πŸ™‚ my husband finds it very irritating when I correct even his slip-of-the-tongues πŸ˜‰


  9. Lol..Good one there πŸ™‚ I am reminded of the lecture that our English teacher gave, the day some girl came up to her with a ‘Happy Teacher’s day’ card. She had written ‘Happy Teachers’ day’ instead of ‘Happy Teacher’s day’ and my teacher was like ‘the latter is the right, not the former. Grammatical error alert, girl ! ‘


  10. Guess, I better learn to communicate using only smileys arnd ur page , chances are I will make fewer mistakes.

    My sympathies to your husband, but then he can live with it, afterall how much often does a husband get to open his mouth,lol.

    But do spare athought for thought for those who didnt get to go to a convent school. I’m not into calling names (my english doesn’t permit that,lol).


  11. Pingback: Grammar Strikes Back | DesiPundit

  12. I realize that you are just an apostrophe, but perhaps you could do with some grammar, language and typing lessons yourself.


    “If you do not realize that, you have no business conversing in English, please revert to using sign language, which honestly suits you best.”


    “If you do not realize that, you have no business conversing in English. Please revert to using sign language, which honestly suits you best.”

    Notice the difference?


    “Let me give you some background on my antecedants.”

    The correct spelling is “antecedents”, and not “antecedants”. Even if the spelling was correct, the word wouldn’t fit in this situation. So it’s not just about a typo.


    Now, a typo (just for the heck of pointing one out). There is no such word as “ofcourse”. The correct term is “of course”.


  13. who’s written the above comment – I’ll say give him a banana’s peel πŸ˜‰ ! I’d want to meet him for his eye-for-detail πŸ™‚ – correct usage Priya?? πŸ™‚


  14. @Kiran: Heh.. writing that kind of comment is pretty easy. Pointing out mistakes in others’ work is one of the easiest things in the World, because nobody is perfect.

    There was a time when I used to be quite a Grammar Nazi myself, hence the eye for detail. But my own skills at written English are not perfect. I realized that a while ago and stopped behaving like Lynne Truss.

    And since my previous comment lacked smiley faces, let me add here that it was written in a lighter vein. Nothing serious about it. πŸ™‚


  15. Juneborn – πŸ™‚ actually it balances out becoz my nitpicky ways make the husband correct my slip of the tongues too!

    Sharanyan – ??

    Vivek – O God, this is English class all over again!! πŸ˜‰ Now let me see: (1) I could accept it. The effect was to give out that sentence all in one breath, hence the comma and not the full stop! (2) Guilty as charged! But I still stand by the usage of the word in this context. For a human being, it might seem like incorrect usage, but for an apostrophe, hell it has its antecedents. (3) πŸ™‚ I do that for ‘at least’, missed it for ‘of course’, thx for pointing it out.

    Appreciate you takin’ the time out and correcting my blog post! At this rate, Spell Check would soon become obsolete πŸ˜‰

    Kiran – just the ONE banana peel? πŸ˜‰


  16. @Priya: I think you are confusing the word “antecedents” for another word.

    The word “antecedent”, in this context, would refer to the origins of apostrophe and its evolution to the present form & usage. Clearly, that is not what you were talking about. If you want to know the antecedents of apostrophe, they are available on Wikipedia.

    For some unknown reason, I am doing a lot of spell-checking today. I did this on one more blog a short while ago.


  17. Vivek – Ouch, this gets more embarassing! 😦 you a freelance spell-checker? πŸ™‚ nice job!

    Vi – Yeah, I hope people do take notice. But not too much notice *points to the comment above by Vivek* πŸ˜‰

    Supremus – Oh don’t worry, I’m not an English teacher. I would squirm and fret, but I would never correct a blog-author (different story with family and friends, though) πŸ™‚ welcome to TP!


  18. Bhel Puri n Kebab – πŸ™‚ Is it just me or does anyone else feel hungry on seeing your nickname? πŸ˜‰ esp the seekh kebab part!

    ProlificDyslexic – πŸ™‚ okie, just make sure you don’t end up with a pink thingie on your desk the next day πŸ˜‰

    Aparna – seriously? I wasn’t so sure of this post so it was actually lying in my drafts folder for the last 4 months! πŸ™‚

    Pri – OMG, that T-shirt was awesome! I would totally wear it! (if you can get it shipped to me soon please) btw, very diplomatic there: ‘I would like to present you’ not ‘I present you’ πŸ˜‰


  19. I liked this one. Very tongue in cheek. I wish teachers in school would teach grammar like this. Would make punctuation so life like and human.

    My heart goes out for apostrophe. πŸ™‚


  20. Awesome post Priya! [:)]

    I’m kind-of a stickler for correct language usage too…whether written or spoken. So can understand what people like us go through, in an atmosphere full of language faux pas. Jees!

    Just feel that verbal/written communication really loses all its spirit if the language used is full of such faux pas!

    After all, being a good communicator is not all about being verbose or using a good vocabulary, but rather about being able to communicate your thoughts, in the language of your choice… correctly.

    Keep writing. [:)]


  21. Dearest apostrophe,

    orey oru chinna doubt. sparked off by the book bridget jones’ diary.

    what is correct – bridget jones’s diary


    bridget jones’ diary????

    i vow to put you in your rightful position always, to the best of my knowledge. please clarify this doubt as soon as possible.

    yours faithfully,
    priya iyer


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