For the love of all we hold precious in this world, would people just stop shoving apostrophes where they’re not needed? If I’m meandering down a street, thoughts of sugary decadent indulgence in my mind, and I see a cafe with a chalkboard proclaiming, ‘Our brownie’s are the best,’ I don’t care if those brownies are injected with my body weight in Nutella and served off the abs of Channing Tatum himself – I’m not buying those stupid brownies. And all because of a stray apostrophe. Damn it to hell. 


I know a lot of people get all angsty and uptight about using apostrophes, so they avoid them at all costs by writing phrases such as ‘the results of my clients’ rather than ‘my client’s results.’ This has a silver lining in that I can understand what they’re writing and their meaning, even if it’s buried in a bit of clunky passive writing, which damages readability. Others couldn’t give a flying you-know-what and throw around apostrophes like confetti OR pretend they don’t exist. 


Apostrophes do exist, and they serve an incredibly important function. Writing, and especially content and brand writing, is all about connection. We want people to connect with our message, and correct grammar is the way to do so. If someone has to read a sentence two or three times to decipher meaning, then we’re making it far too hard for them. Thank you. Next!

Here’s the rule for apostrophes:


Use apostrophes only to show possession or to indicate missing letters (contractions).  If you’re a poet AND you know it, perhaps you prefer this version of the rule:


An apostrophe shows the owner of anyone’s things, and it’s also useful for shortenings.


Here’s how to implement the rule:


Write the word that owns something, add an apostrophe and then add an s.


That said, here’s where the rule gets a bit slippery because of further usage rules when it comes to possession. Namely, don’t use apostrophes in:


  • Possessive forms of pronouns such as its, hers, ours, yours
  • Australian place names such as Kings Cross
  • Australian organisation titles such as the Workers Federation of Australia
  • On inanimate objects, for example, the price of wool is correct, while the wool’s price is not.


I’m in the process of commissioning the construction of a gigantic fibreglass/resin combo apostrophe constructed. My cunning plan is to carry it around everywhere I go, over my shoulder in a fire-fighter hold, ready to gently yet emphatically belt over the head those of us who repeatedly misuse apostrophes. What do you think? Too much? Not enough? Would that push me over the edge from word nerd to outright wordiopath? What might be more useful, perhaps is a couple of references to help brush up on grammar:

The Style Manual is my number one go-to as it is the standard for Australian publishing. 

The Elements of Style is a (stylish) little collection of conventions. 

Tell Your Story and Writing with Spunk are also worth a gander #shamelessplug


Tell me, do you curse the apostrophe back to the hell from wherever it came, or can you wield one like a shield maiden? Let’s chat about the good, the bad and the gorgeous of apostrophes, shall we?


I love writing about communications, writing, life in business and life in general! If there’s something specific you’d like me to cover in my writing, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop