Saturday, May 7, 2011

Using Apostrophes

Apostrophes are primarily used to show possession, though they have a number of other common uses, as well.
Possessive Case
The primary use of the apostrophe is to indicate the possessive case.
Singular Possessive
To form a possessive with a singular noun, use an apostrophe followed by an s.
Examples: 
My aunt’s home is in Montana.
Our supervisor’s name is Joshua.
This is generally true even if the word itself ends with an s. Still add an apostrophe and s.
Examples: 
Have you seen Marcus’s report?
We reviewed James’s work yesterday.
On the other hand, some writers prefer to omit the s after the apostrophe whenever a word already ends in s or z. Though this guideline is easy to follow, it does not follow the norms of pronunciation, and it can therefore seem unnatural.
Examples: 
Last night we had dinner at Mr. Lewis’ home.
He loves to read about Jesus’ miracles.
Have you read Mr. Chavez’ report?
Plural Possessive
To create plural possessive nouns when the words end with an s, add just an apostrophe. Never add an apostrophe and an s to a plural noun that already ends in s.
Not: 
The managers’s meeting will be tomorrow.
The board members’s recommendations were well received.
But:
The managers’ meeting will be tomorrow.
The board members’ recommendations were well received.
For plural nouns that do not end with an s, add an apostrophe followed by an s. Do not write the apostrophe after the s.
Not: 
Your childrens’ song was beautiful.
The gentlemens’ suggestions were outrageous.
But:
Your children’s song was beautiful.
The gentlemen’s suggestions were outrageous.
For a more thorough discussion of possessives, see the article entitled “Possessive Nouns and Indefinite Pronouns.”

Indefinite Pronouns
Use an apostrophe plus s to create the possessive case of indefinite pronouns. Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that do not refer to any particular person or thing, such as somebody, anybody, someone, anything, something, and so forth.
Examples: 
I found someone’s keys on the desk over there.
Have you heard anyone’s suggestions yet about what to do for the summer social?

For more information, see the article entitled “Indefinite Pronouns.”

Abbreviations
To create the possessive form for the abbreviation of a singular noun, add an apostrophe plus s.
Examples: 
That CPA’s salary is twice what mine is.
I’m not sure I understand the MDRA’s mission.
Generally, do not use an apostrophe plus s to create the plural form of an abbreviation.
Not: 
There were three CPA’s at the meeting.
Do you know how many students received their MBA’s last year?
Have you met any of the RN’s?
But:
There were three CPAs at the meeting.
Do you know how many students received their MBAs last year?
Have you met any of the RNs?
However, if the abbreviation has both capital and lowercase letters or has two or more periods, then an apostrophe should be used to avoid misreading.
Example: 
All of my brothers earned PhD’s
To make the plural possessive form of an abbreviation, add an apostrophe after the s only.
Examples: 
Have you heard the CPAs’ recommendations?
We understand the RNs’ want to change their schedules.
Plural Letters and Words
To pluralize a letter or a word used as a word, italicize the letter or word and use roman type for the final s. Generally, no apostrophe is used to make the plural form of a word or an uppercase letter.
Examples: 
Do you realize how many heretofores are in this affidavit?
I don’t appreciate all of the maybes I keep hearing.
Of course you should capitalize the Cs in The Carlton Company.
However, where the plural form of the capitalized letter might be misread if the apostrophe were omitted, then include it.
Example: 
I think that there are two capital I’s in InterIndex.
When referring to letters used to represent scholastic grades, the letters are capitalized and left in roman type. An apostrophe is typically not necessary to create the plural form (though it is used after A so as not to confuse it with the word As).
Example: 
He received three A’s, two Bs, and two Cs.
Our son received two I’s last semester.
An apostrophe generally is used for ease in reading, however, when creating the plural form of lowercase letters.
Examples: 
There are two t’s and two c’sin the word fettuccini.
Are those two e’s in that word?
Plural Numbers
To make the plural form of a number, add an s,without the apostrophe.
Example: 
They like to skate figure 8s at the ice rink.
How many perfect 100s have you scored?
Contractions
The apostrophe is also used to replace the missing letters in a contraction.
Example: 
He said he couldn’t make it to the meeting this morning.
I haven’t seen her yet, but I’m sure she is around here somewhere.
Contractions are common in speech and informal writing, and many writers include them even in formal text to give the work a more conversational or relaxed tone. However, some readers disapprove of contractions in formal writing, so pay attention to the purpose of your document and the audience for whom it is intended.
When writing a contraction where the apostrophe comes at the very beginning of the word, make sure that an apostrophe, and not an opening single quotation mark (which is the default character that will be inserted by most word processors), is used.
Not: 
‘Tis the best time of the year.
Filled with happiness and cheer.
But:
’Tis the best time of the year.
Filled with happiness and cheer.
Such constructions are generally reserved for poetry and other forms of informal writing.

Years
An apostrophe (again, not an opening single quote) is used to indicate the omission of the first two digits of a year.
Not: 
His wife graduated two years before he did, in ‘75.
Do you remember the tornado of ‘05?
But:
His wife graduated two years before he did, in ’75.
Do you remember the tornado of ’05?
However, do not omit the first two digits of the year if it might be unclear to readers which century is meant.

Decades
An apostrophe should not be used before the s when referring to the years of a particular decade.
Examples: 
He is definitely a child of the 1980s.
Her grandfather was a teenager during the 1950s.
Plural Form in Quotation Marks
The plural form of a word or phrase in quotations marks may look awkward, and thus the sentence should probably be revised to avoid this construct. If the plural form is retained, however, then an apostrophe plus s should be included within the quotation marks (never on the outside of the quotation marks).
Original:

With the state of marriage in this country, are there any “till death do us part’s” anymore?
Better:

With the state of marriage in this country, does anybody even make it to “till death do us part” anymore?
Misused Apostrophes
Sometimes writers mistakenly add an apostrophe where one does not belong. Following are instances where an apostrophe should not be used.
Do not use an apostrophe for nouns that are not possessive. This error sometimes occurs when a possessive pronoun appears in the sentence. However, a possessive pronoun does not necessarily mean that a nearby noun should also be in the possessive case. Rather, it depends on the grammatical function of the noun.
Not: 
Their nephews’ all live in the Midwest.
Mr. Jenkins’s sons’, and their wives, visited here yesterday.
Our pets’ are like our surrogate children.
But:
Their nephews all live in the Midwest.
Mr. Jenkins’s sons, and their wives, visited here yesterday.
Our pets are like our surrogate children.
Do not use an apostrophe for the possessive form of the personal pronouns its, whose, his, hers, ours, yours, or theirs. These words do not contain apostrophes, even though they are in the possessive case.
Not: 
I did not know that their department had combined with our’s.
Liz said that their’s is a more relaxed working environment.
But:
I did not know that their department had combined with ours.
Liz said that theirs is a more relaxed working environment.
The word it’s is the contraction of it is, and the word who’s is the contraction of who is. Do not confuse these two words with the possessive forms its and whose, which do not contain apostrophes despite being in the possessive case.
Not: 
Every department has it’s own policies and procedures to handle such circumstances.
I don’t know who’s shirts these are that just arrived from the dry cleaner.
But:
Every department has its own policies and procedures to handle such circumstances.
I don’t know whose shirts these are that just arrived from the dry cleaner.
Nor should apostrophes be used with the personal pronouns your, their, or theirs. Be careful not to confuse these words with the contraction you’re, they’re, and there’s.
Not: 
What you’re colleagues said was inexcusable.
We have not heard they’re response yet.
Do you know which car is there’s?
But:
What your colleagues said was inexcusable.
We have not heard their response yet.
Do you know which car is theirs?
Finally, present-tense verbs used with third-person singular subjects always end in s and do not ever have an apostrophe.
Not:

Our office boast’s some of the best talent in the nation.
Their yard look’s beautiful when all the flowers are in bloom.
But:

Our office boasts some of the best talent in the nation.
Their yard looks beautiful when all the flowers are in bloom.

Manggahan Festival: This is something mango-ish!

Guimaras mangoes. A mouth-watering sight during Manggahan Festival 2011

Mangoes have continuously gained popularity being delicious, pulpy, and well, tropical. Seasonal and one of the most sought-after fruits in the country or even abroad, one can eat as much for a price. This is especially true for us city dwellers. There was this one opportunity, fortunately, for mango lovers as Guimaras Province opened doors to “eating mangoes until your stomach surrenders” scheme. Besides the much cheaper price, it is best to eat where it is actually grown.
View by the sea. On board the motorboat to Guimaras

Just a fifteen-minute boat ride from Iloilo City, the former sub-province of Guimaras lies on Guimaras Strait. There are moves to build a bridge that will connect the island to the city, but since it will be excessive to foresee by now, the usual way to get there is by motor boat. Trust me, the sight is spectacular. On your way, never bother comparing mangoes from other locations with those from the island. You will surely lose sight of your keepsakes as bags are inspected! There has been an ongoing “No mango in” policy. This one way of preserving the biological qualities makes Guimaras mangoes one of a kind. It is a worldwide export. Who would want to ruin it?

What's inside? The entrance to the Manggahan festival ground.

Determined to uplift the popularity of the produce, Guimarasnons conceptualized the festival called “Manggahan”. Mangga is the Filipino term for the fruit, but locally, it is called “paho”. For the locals, public awareness of the fruit and its originating farms means additional demand for their produce and thus, increasing income. It has been a collaborative effort among communities to continue ensuring they produce only the best. This can be proven by their patience of covering every single fruit to avoid spots. Only the best will have to be in the market. Those that are not so flawless will have to go for household consumption, sometimes, for give-aways when you drop by the farms. The festival also paved way to increasing the number of tourist trips in the island. This means additional income to local farmers, as many tourists-local or foreign would like to taste their famous produce, and jobs for those involve in the resorts industry with the province having the most accessible white sand beaches from Iloilo city and the nearby areas. You do not have to go to Boracay with the six-hour bus trip to experience fine white sand. It is just an hour away from the city. In fact, the island has become the favorite weekend getaway of city dwellers.

Getting that number. People patiently lined up for their priority number
to the all-you-can-eat mangoes of Guimaras

With the long lines for the boat ticketing in Iloilo City, it is perfectly obvious that many will be spending the day in the island. Arriving there on festival highlight, you can see the happy faces. While most of them were busy, some were looking around with the spectacular sight of people of different sizes, languages and color crowding in its smaller town ground. In the lines, tourists have been patient to wait their turn in getting tickets under the scourging heat of the sun. The locals gladly paved way for those who are obviously mango-hungry looking people. That was also a day of advertising as local businesses gave freebies. Wherever you turn, there are distinct differences on the languages people around us used. The shady areas served as the reception to those who waited nearby the capitol ground.

All smiles. Who said you will have to be pissed with long lines?
Not the case when mangoes are waiting.
Made festive by the flaglets as far as from the wharf, the mood is simply happy. On the way, music seems to be coming from every direction. There have been polls of local talents entertaining the arrivals. The venue was set in a wide space fronting the provincial capitol. Decorated with a welcoming fa├žade, emphasizing the theme of the festival, it has been wrapped for exclusivity. All kinds of mango products, from fresh fruits to bars and tarts can be found. All you have to do is just circle the sea of bazaars. Safety was not a concern, as there is much police visibility.

Waiting their turn. Sitting on the grass, getting ready for the mango attack.

At the ticketing area, everyone seemed eager and patient. Individuals will have to personally get a priority number to enter. The heat of the summer may not very great, but everyone enjoyed the mood. Different looks, different accents, colors, and never-ending camera shots~! Accommodating only a certain number or people per time bracket, most waited their turn for an hour of all-you-can-eat mangoes. For us who live in the city, it is something worth waiting. Back home, mango is expensive and the quality is not quite as good as the one branded “Guimaras”. At the entrance, people were handed stickers with the estimated time of having to leave the area. Looking at the tourists’ registration, I was surprised that guests came a long way, even from Manila or overseas. Long tables are set under the shade, ideal for sharing and eventually winning new friends. This is another countless photo opportunity.

Settled. Ready for the all-you-can-eat experience.
It was almost half past twelve when guests are way too much than expected. Unfortunately, there was a shortage of the produce. Lucky are those who were able to get in earlier. Having such an opportunity, we never wasted time trying to outdo friends by figures. One, two, three mangoes are just the base point. After about an hour, the highest registered figure eaten by the group member was 10! We enjoyed choosing the mangoes from the counter, and eating them the way it should be- peeling the mango by hand, biting it in right places or else you will have an itchy throat! Oh, danger, but I guess we all have mango addiction that nobody exhibited after effects- except loud burps and of course shiny and sticky chin! That’ more than the regular lunch! Six large mangoes for me, that is not too bad.

Food hunter? Some food at the Manggahan 2011 festival stalls

Do you love mangoes, or are you just curious? Go to Guimaras when you have the chance. It is delightful to eat freshly picked mangoes right in the place it is grown! Trust me, that is different. See you next year. Mark the next mango festival so you will not miss it!