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Grammar Repair Shop: Pesky apostrophes

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in Workplace Communication

When used incorrectly, apostrophes are a huge annoyance for readers such as Lynn Crocker of Comcast Spotlight.

“What drives me nuts is people using apostrophes for plural things,” she says. “I’ve even seen people make signs that say, ‘We make key’s!’”

Make sure you aren’t using apostrophes recklessly. Apostrophe don’ts:

1. Don’t use ’s when pluralizing a word.

Example: We all need to stick to the plan, no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.”

2. Don’t use ’s when making numbers plural.

Examples: That’s how we did it in the 1970s. Temperatures will be in the 20s tonight.

3. Don’t use ’s when pluralizing multiple letters.

Example: Two VIPs are coming. How many TVs do you own?

4. Caveat: If you’re pluralizing one letter, you do use an ’s.

Example: Mind your p’s and q’s.

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