It’s an Apostrophe
I love to find simple, easy to use grammar tricks on the web, a link where I can go every time I need to use some form of the verb lay or lie, for instance.
So this link to simple rules for when to use an apostrophe made me pretty happy when I first glanced. The Oatmeal presents some simple guidelines that will help you if apostrophes trouble you, but I disagree with several of their interpretations of the exceptions.
Still, their layout is snazzy, their graphics (as you can see above) are witty, and the order in which they present their concepts does basically work for me. Here’s my re-interpretation, complete with sexy examples.
So, first, is it plural? Such as:
Their backsides jiggled in the air.
Her lashes fluttered near her cheek.
If so, no need to add an apostrophe. Just let the word be its plural self with its nice letter s at the end. There are no exceptions to this rule, as The Oatmeal would have you believe.
It is, in fact, a common mistake to use apostrophe to make numbers and acronyms plural, but there is no need to add an apostrophe to make any word plural–even if the word is a number or an acronym.
INCORRECT: Unsafe sex can sometimes lead to STI’s, (that’s sexually transmitted infection).
CORRECT: Unsafe sex can sometimes lead to STIs.
I think maybe people like to add an apostrophe to an acronym to help make sure you don’t think the pluralizing s is part of the acronym, but since acronyms usually use all capital letters, the lowercase, pluralizing s really isn’t confusing. Same thing with numbers. No need to add an apostrophe when you are pluralizing a number.
INCORRECT: Since the 1980’s, many pornography images include condoms.
CORRECT: Since the 1980s, many pornography images include condoms.
Now, is it possessive? Are you relating that the noun in question owns something? If so, use an apostrophe plus the letter s:
. . . the hooker’s charm . . .
. . . her cunt’sdisposition . . .
. . . her ass’s sway . . .
. . . Chris’s lacy panties . . .
Note in the examples above that it does not matter whether the noun ends in s or not, you still just add an apostrophe + s. This is the same for names that end in s as well as other nouns that end in s, such as penis and Charles.
. . . Charles’s penis’s foreskin . . .
As long as you’ve got just one Charles and he’s got just one penis, this should work for you. But wait. What if you do have a plural and possessive noun? Most of the time, plural words end in s, so most of the time, you will add just an apostrophe:
. . . her thighs’ sheen . . .
. . . . his biceps’ripple . . .
. . . women’s lingerie . . .
And that’s just because women, like men and geese, is a plural word that does not end in s.
Now let’s tackle the words it’s and its. These can be confusing because they breaks the rule above, “add apostrophe + s” for plurals. It is indeed, the one exception to that rule. Here’s all you have to remember:
it’s = it is
its = it possessive
It’s sexy to use good grammar. (it is)
It’s hot when you tickle my ear with your tongue. (it is)
But I don’t like the nibbling on its lobe. (it possessive)
This shoulder always gets sunburned; can’t you tell by its freckles? (it possessive)
Think of it’s as a contraction, like can’t and wouldn’t. Just as you replace the spelled-out word not with the contracted n’t, you replace the word is in it is, with apostrophe + s.
And there it is, perhaps not as graphically rich as they did it at The Oatmeal, but at least a little more correct.