Friday, July 27, 2007

Apostrophe S

Why is it that I have so much trouble with apostrophes? I continually screw them up, in both directions. That is, I'll write a sentence that has both a plural and a possessive or contraction, and give an apostrophe in the former, but not the latter. E.g., "[T]o reiterate, the FRC has expressed no problem with teacher's [sic] leading their students in prayer--so long as its [sic] to Jesus." So it's not that I over- or under-use apostrophes, I just use them in the exact wrong cases. The same thing happens with "their" versus "there"--I flip them around constantly.

It just makes me feel like an idiot sometimes.


Anonymous said...

PG said...

Technically, it should be "the FRC has expressed no problem with teachers' leading their students in prayer..."

"Leading" here is a gerund, not a present participle, so it is both the object of the prepositional phrase that began "with," and the noun possessed by the "teachers." Because "teachers" has a noun that it possesses, it should have an apostrophe after the "s."

Yes, I was raised to diagram sentences.