Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors are the written equivalent of a piece of food caught in your teeth: distracting and unsightly!
A well written and edited piece will convey your message clearly and look professional.
Apostrophe rules are simple but often broken. Some brains (like mine) get an ‘error signal’ when they see a rogue apostrophe and get distracted from the message. For example, FAQ’s.
Apostrophes increase productivity
Good use of apostrophes can lead to greater productivity because people get your message the first time. Thankfully apostrophes are easy once you are familiar with a few simple apostrophe rules.
When to use an apostrophe
- Use an apostrophe to indicate ownership: The Project Manager’s schedule, the intern’s review
- Use an apostrophe for a contraction (two words combined): It’s, they’re, don’t, couldn’t
When not to use an apostrophe
- Never use an apostrophe for its unless you mean ‘it is’ (see the contraction rule above)
- Don’t use apostrophes for plural nouns: I use lots of apostrophes, there are many menus
- Don’t use apostrophes for acronyms: PCs, USBs, FAQs
- Don’t use apostrophes for abbreviations: St, Mrs, Ave.
Editing your work
Don’t rely on your spell check to edit your work. Spell check is helpful and there are lots of simple errors that it cannot detect. Take a break from your writing and look at it with fresh eyes later. Ask a colleague to read over it. If you are not sure about an apostrophe it’s better to leave it out.
I’m not an English teacher
I am a productivity expert, change management specialist and a professional coach and mentor. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how I can help you to reach your goals.