Rise in misuse of apostrophe's?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mcdj, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Yes, the title is an example.

    What is the deal with the seemingly huge and ever increasing amount of people who have no clue as to when to use an apostrophe?

    I see it everywhere. Web forums. Blogs. Restaurant menus. Ads. Signs. About the only places I don't see it regularly are mainstream newspapers and books.

    I generally cut people some slack for misspellings, or poor grammar (though "should of", "your" for "you're", and "then" for "than" drive me batty). But misplaced apostrophes seem to be spreading like a virus, and it's maddening.

    And what mystifies me is that in the current abbreviated text-speak landscape of "lol" and "ur awsum", adding an apostrophe where it doesn't belong takes more effort.

    Are we getting dumber? Is basic punctuation no longer being taught in schools? Or has it always been his way, and the internet merely magnifies the problem?

    You're thought's?
  2. lostngone macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2003
  3. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    I think the Internet is partially to blame... and texting... and current social communication in general. Bad spelling/grammar used often on a daily basis becomes habit. People seem to care less. Though maybe you're right and it's just become glaringly obvious how poor people's writing/typing skills are in general. Pretty sad when people whose 2nd or 3rd language is English type better than native speakers. I also think current education, at least in America, is in the crapper. Or maybe people as a whole are just getting dumber. De-evolution?
  4. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    It's a combination of all of the above. The Internet and current memes certainly don't help. When you have various things you hear from 4chan, Twitter, etc. becoming the norm for English, and then add in regional colloquialisms (read: Norcal's "hella", "hecka", "then I'm like, xxxx" instead of "I said", etc.), you get a really dumbed down version of English, at least hear in the US. Granted, each country where the primary language is English will always have their local sayings inserted into the lexicon, it it doesn't excuse poor grammar.

    But playing devil's advocate on that, there are different spins on English where punctuations wouldn't be where we would apply them here in the US. So the pendulum swings both ways.

    I guess it boils down to the version of English being used (Queen's English, US English, Canadian English, etc.), and how grammar is applied to those versions. If those are piss poor, then there is indeed a problem. Then again, it does tell you a lot about how knowledgeable they are (whether they care or not)...

  5. rocknblogger macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    Way to go champ :D
  6. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010
    Can you link a few examples?

    I'm not sure I have noticed this same phenomenon.
  7. Starfighter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2011
    I haven't really picked up on this... What I personally can't get over, is the fact that so many people confuses "than" and "then" - even if english is their first language.
  8. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Good grammar, punctuation, handwriting and spelling is becoming a lost art. Also, the reckless use of vile language in all kinds of inappropriate settings is increasing.

    I never heard my parents use the F word.
  9. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
  10. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I never saw my parents having sex but I have a younger brother.
  11. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I bet there's actually a decrease in the percentage of people who make these mistakes in formal writing. It's just that we're exposed to more people's writing now in the age of the internet, and certain forms of writing don't call for completely correct grammar. For example, when my wife text messages me to say to meet her at the drug store instead of grocery store, it's perfectly clear communication to just write "drug store" instead of "I will be waiting for you to puck me up at the drug store."
  12. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010
    To be fair, your parents could have adopted him ;)
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Why is this in PRSI?

    Oh please, there just word's.
  14. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030


    Feb 9, 2010
  15. Shotglass macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    I would have suggested this might have something to do with younger people not reading any books, but then, I read this article a while ago, so that can't be why.
    I definitely agree with miloblithe though, I spell like a 5yo crack baby on Facebook, but in school/uni essays and coursework, my spelling has always been impeccable. So maybe we just think people can't write properly anymore simply because they all choose not to.
  16. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030


    Feb 9, 2010
  17. adnbek macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2011
    Montreal, Quebec
    I think everyone above me has touched on this point enough so won't be adding to the list of reasons.

    One scary thing I've noticed is that the use of apostrophes for plurals when the word is abbreviated is also greatly on the rise, to the point I find them in print and online media. Examples like "mac's", "90's" or "DVD's". At some point I feel like the error has become so common, it's no longer regarded as an error.
  18. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
  19. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I've actually seen printed sign done correctly, with the apostrophe added in with a marker. For some people, that seems to be the correct way to do it.

    Argh...it all drives me crazy.
  20. astrorider macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2008
    I find it mildly annoying that autocorrect on my iDevices always changes "its" to "it's" regardless of usage. Maybe people are learning from their iPhones that there is no correct use of "its"?
  21. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    The reason that happens is because it's easier for you to tap the "x" button when the phone suggests "it's" and you want "its" than to go look for the apostrophe in the iPhone's keyboard if it suggested "its" and you wanted "it's".
  22. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I could probably search for a while and find the thread, but there was a thread here a while back where someone argued that if enough people spelled incorrectly or used bad grammar, that it should then become the acceptable usage, as that's just the progression of language. So if enough people were saying "I'm going over they're" then "they're" would become correct. I could not agree with him.
  23. Hastings101 macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2010
    I think it's always been this way. The Internet and text messaging just makes the abundance of apohstruhfee's alot more noticeable cuz so many people are 'chattin threw written language instead of spe-ach.
  24. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    Well in that situation the apostrophe is used as a device, which won't change. I do agree otherwise though that language is evolving and popular usage becomes normative.

    I saw an argument on another forum about the use of 'free market' between an economics student stickler who claimed 'free market' could only ever be used in the strict sense as defined by a certain economist. It looked quite poor when the references of 'free market' in popular usage by the more respected broadsheets came flooding in. The word is used loosely these days and has taken on a broader meaning. You can argue against it, or complain about it, but it's like standing against the tide.

    On a similar vein, my bet is that we will see British English become increasingly Americanised from a younger generation spending time on the internet.
  25. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Here Here! ;)

    Curiously, since iOS 5+, it has been less consistent with that, depending on where I am putting in text.

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