The Apostrophe Is Dead — Again

The apostrophe is destined to become extinct as language becomes less formal. Apostrophes are used to show possession or to indicate missing letters in a contraction. So, it’s George’s Restaurant, but too often we see Open Sunday’s or Mens Apparel. Initially, the apostrophe was used to indicate that a letter was left out. Why letters were replaced by a punctuation mark is a bit of a mystery. Once the apostrophe appeared on the scene, it grew in popularity. However, some writers went completely berserk with it. Today, there are many acceptable apostrophe-laden contractions: o’clock (of the clock), who’ll (who will/who shall), can’t (cannot) and the ever-popular south of the Mason-Dickson Line y’all (you all). Despite all the assaults on the humble squiggle, it’s still got some life left in it. The last word goes to Merriam-Webster: “Here’s a cheering thought: no matter how badly you misuse this punctuation (apostrophe), there is a good chance that some famous writer in the past has done the same thing. Furthermore, there is a sporting chance that any mistakes you make with it will one day come back into fashion.”