Just stop it now!

by sue on September 8, 2010

Every once in a while, I make the mistake of skimming the reader comments following articles in the Globe and Mail, which claims to be Canada’s national newspaper. It’s a discouraging habit, one I’m trying to break.

The content of the comments paints an unflattering picture of Globe readers (my fellow citizens?) as unkind, intolerant, nasty, self-righteous and, alas, not too bright. This appears to be the result of anonymity mixed with alcohol and I hope there’s a PhD student studying the phenomenon.

Less evil but still bad, their grammar is frightening. In what school are they teaching people to make a word plural by adding an apostrophe before the S? This mistake is so common someone must be teaching it. It’s just too goofy for large numbers of people to develop on their own.

STOP it! To make most words plural, add an S and be done. Yes, there are exceptions, like children, geese, salmon and such. But never an apostrophe. Not even with MPs, BMWs and IOUs. (I checked with Fowler.) If you can think of any circumstance under which an apostrophe is required, please let me know. In the meantime, let’s try to stamp out this practice.

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