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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    While editing youth and stringer copy, I'm noticing more and more how often people misuse an apostrophe. This afternoon, I saw "The Tiger's beat West Bumfuck."
    I've also seen "The Tiger's first baseman" instead of "The Tigers' first baseman" and "The Tigers first baseman."
    When did this suddenly become such a common mistake? Is it becomming one of those common mistakes that's so common that you can't really consider it a mistake anymore?
  2. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    it's amazing how common of a mistake it is and how writers can't seem to figure it out.
  3. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    This is my pet peeve. I even see it on this board left and right.

    I just don't understand why it's so complicated.

    Drives me nuts (or "nut's," as some would write).
  4. thegrifter

    thegrifter Member

    a guy in my shop, who thinks he's this great writer, gets it backwards all the time. we keep trying to explain it to him, but he keeps effin it up. now, we just give up.
  5. While that's certainly really annoying, I think some places over-correct. Plural possessives that end in S should take an apostrophe on the end, but singular words that end in S need an additional S after the apostrophe.

    "The Tigers' first baseman hit four home runs last week." is correct.

    "Bonds's bats aren't corked." should be correct, but my style guide insists that it's "Bonds' bats aren't corked."

    I think both might be considered correct, but considering that the extra S is usually pronounced, that looks better to me.
  6. This drives me crazy, particularly the missuse of "its" and "it's." It's not that hard, people, to use that term in its proper place. (See?) ;D
  7. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    I had a big problem misplacing apostrophes early in my career. I knew the rule, inside and out. But for some reason I could never get it straight under deadline pressure.

    I did two things to fix it. First, while factchecking on paper, I'd circle every apostrophe and then make sure I had it right.

    The second was actually something a photog did for me. There is a septic and portable toilet business in the part of Maryland I was working called "Brothers' Johnson." He took a photo of one of their trucks, and it has hung over my desk at every shop I've been in since -- a constant reminder to mind my apostrophes.
  8. Kritter47

    Kritter47 Member

    I have been told that, in cases where the team name is functionally part of the title of a person, that an apostrophe wasn't needed.

    If that is true, "Tigers first baseman Joe DoGood has ..." is correct.

    But if it's the adjective describing a noun ("The Tigers' first baseman had...") then you need the apostrophe.

    Anyone else ever heard that?
  9. Yes, I've heard that, too. That makes sense.
  10. shecky

    shecky Member

    I've heard of it and live by it. It just makes for much cleaner copy to avoid all those apostrophes.
  11. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    Conan, the Grammarian, speaks:

    Apostrophe is not used when the longer form of the phrase would use for or by. Tigers first baseman is correct in all instance because the player is the first baseman for the Tigers. So, too, citizens band radio, Teamsters request, teachers college, a writers guide

    AP Stylebook (2003) page 331.

    That is all.
  12. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    I guess the question is, is Tigers an adjective or a noun? Could be either.

    I screwed this up for so many years and finally figured it out right about the time I graduated from college. Pathetic, yes (and I have a freaking apostrophe in my name), but for one reason or another I just did not get it. I have lots of patience for those who struggle with it now.
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