Apologies to Apostrophe

Dear Apostrophe,

I sincerely and humbly apologize for the way you have been treated. Although misplaced, overused, and generally neglected, you keep working even when no one seems to care about your feelings.

How can I effectively make up for all the abuse we have heaped on you? I am not sure I can.

Though mistreated, you are loyal. You make yourself available to anyone who wants to show the possessive or even the plural form of a word. You are bandied about by writers of all strengths, tossed into places you did not belong. But you stay.

Always generous and willing, you are open to new words coined by lazy-tongued, devil-may-care speech recorders. Writers who do not feel bound by laws create new opportunities to show off your potential. Do they see that you are worn out? I think not.

You come to the rescue when words are too closely confined and a letter leaves its home. You sometimes cause readers to wonder about the letter for whom you stand in the gap. Where did it go? Will it be okay? At least we are comforted by the presence of the apostrophe high up in the air, calling out to the reader, “There was a letter here once. A valuable letter.”

Is there a can’t or doesn’t whose knee is not bowed to your unity-building powers? Words do not have to come apart at the seams. They can be mended by the mighty apostrophe.

Sometimes you are eloquent and misunderstood like the dog’s and cat’s in the backyard. I understand. I used to have dogs and cats who had things in the backyard that I did not want to name.

So thank you, apostrophe, for your steadfast diligence. Thank you for your patience with us while we learn about you and learn to treat you with respect.


Alison Strobel Morrow said...


Love your post. Have you ever read "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves"? If you haven't, I think you would really like it. They even have a picture book version out now that illustrates how much a sentence's meaning changes when punctuation is misused.


Domino said...

I'll have to check that one out, Alison. I think I saw it on Brenda Coulter's blog.

Thanks for stopping by.