[image title=”apostrophetoo” size=”thumbnail” id=”369″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/apostrophetoo.jpg” ]Ah, the humble apostrophe. It’s been indicating omitted letters, showing a possesive case and pluralising our words for hundreds of years. All classic English literature contains a liberal use of this simple elevated comma, sometimes in variations which are no longer used (somewhere, o’er the rainbow!). It seems so simple to me, yet it’s something that many people seem to struggle with.
The apostrophe entered service in about 1533. It’s name was derived from the Greek “apostrophos” ([the accent of] turning away) via the French iteration, “apostrophe”. Essentially, the accent shows that a letter or two have been “turned away”, such as “it is” being contracted to “it’s”. It can also be used as a possesive indication, however this is actually a contraction as well, since the classic posessive indication was an -es on the end of the word. So instead of “Captain Cookes Fleet”, the e is stripped and we are left with “Captain Cook’s Fleet”.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Well, no, it doesn’t. Which is why there’s a great movement of people who want to see it exiled from service.