Apostrophes

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Oh, ye greengrocers!  Hang up thy marker-pens, and then hang down thy heads!

That’s an example of apostrophe: a rhetorical device wherein a person or group is addressed in an exclamatory passage.  But the word also applies to the little curly mark that signifies either a possessive (the cat’s whiskers) or missing letters (you can’t or you won’t?).

I was moved to write this post, unfairly to the great majority of greengrocers I’m sure, by a brilliant 5-minute film that my friend Ron sent me today.  There are subtitles, and it was the appearance of a rogue greengrocer’s apostrophe* in one of those subtitles that made me stroppy.

Even so, it’s a really good film so I’ll share it with you.  Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/WR8tIjTykbE

 

*  That is, an apostrophe that’s incorrectly inserted before a pluralising S, as in “Banana’s $2.99/kg”.

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