Monday, July 6, 2009

Grammar blog?

Obviously I love words/grammar/spelling/etc. Sometimes I even think I missed my true calling as a copy editor. But alas, that is not the career path I chose, so now I'm left to post about it online. :) Should this blog perhaps lean in an all-grammar direction? Eh, probably not--but that doesn't preclude the occasional (OK, frequent) grammar post!!!!! Yee haw!!

Recently, one of my dear loyal readers ( it makes me sound important to refer to my "dear loyal readers," even though I only have about, um, three) asked me about the proper usage of the plural and possessive 's'. So today I present a lesson appropriately entitled: Kiss My 'S'.

When deciding whether to add an 's' to the end of a word, you must first determine whether you are adding the 's' as a plural or a possessive. For instance, are you talking about multiple dogs, or something that belongs to your dog? If multiple dogs, you need a plural 's' ("dogs"). If something belongs to your dog, you need a possessive 's', with an apostrophe (my dog's poop).

The tricky part about the 's' arises in situations where the plural form can be either an 's' or an 'ies'--when to use which form?? The good news is, you really only need to worry about this situation for words that end in 'y'. If the word has a vowel (haha, vowel--rhymes with bowel) before the final 'y' (as in "day"), just add an 's' as you normally would ("days of our lives"). If the word has a consonant before the final 'y' (as in "reality"), change the 'y' to 'ies' ("'Days of our Lives' is a show that compellingly portrays the realities of daily life").

For possessives, it may SEEM tricky to try to figure out an "s apostrophe" (s') vs. an "apostrophe s" ('s), but it's actually quite simple; in fact, it's ALWAYS correct to just add the "apostrophe s" and be done with it! The "s apostrophe" is only used after words that end in 's' (for instance, for a family named Jones, the possessive could be "the Jones' mullets"), but if you're confused, it's perfectly correct to add on the "apostrophe s" just in case ("the Jones's mullets").

Exceptions to the rule? There are always a few. People often have trouble figuring out when to use "it's" or "its", for example--and for that, use "it's" as a contraction for "it is" ("it's time for a pig roastin'"), and "its" for anything possessive ("that pig is about to feel some roastin' on its hind quarters").

In general though, just remember to determine plural or possessive, and follow the rules from there. And if you get it wrong and someone calls you out on it? You can always feel free to tell them to KISS MY 'S', STINKY McSTINKFACE!

Thank you,

Grammar Girl

1 comment:

the seymours said...

OH MY GAWD('s) i cannot believe you did a post for me, the loyal reader with the 's, s', s, es conundrum. i think i'll bookmark this page so i can refer to it in times of need.

p/s i love that days of our lives was an example.

p/p/s who is stinky mcstinkface?