March 16, 2015

Apostrophe, goddess of misuse

The apostrophe seems to cause a lot of angst in its overuse. Grammar nerds will go all twitchy if you add one to a plural. But did you know that we've been dropping apostrophes for years? Technically, all of these words should have an apostrophe to indicate omission of one or more letters:
plane (airplane)
bus (omnibus)
cello (violincello)
phone (telephone)
net (Internet)

The first recorded use of the word 'phone dates to 1927. I don't know when we got rid of the apostrophe, but Wikipedia says it's not uncommon to drop it entirely if it is used at the beginning of a word. Here's a tip for you to use with all your grammar friends: when in doubt, leave it out. We'll still be able to understand your sentence and we will assume you're lazy instead of stupid. ;)

No comments: