How to use apostrophes in your marketing copy

Posted on   by Sarah Hickman
Proofreading-marketing-copy

How often have you seen SKIRT'S FOR SALE or CHEAP HOLIDAY'S on a website, poster or on social media? Our eagle eyes usually spot these errors straight away, and we think twice about using the services of businesses who commit crimes against the apostrophe!

To help you out, we've produced a quick guide below.

The apostrophe is used:

1. To indicate the possessive.

  • This is Peter's book.
  • This book is Peter's.
  • The dog's dinner looks disgusting.
  • Diana was the people's princess.
  • I tore up the men's shirts.
  • It is everyone's duty to protest.
  • It is no-one's responsibility.

Apostrophes are not needed here:

  • They had two photos.
  • We sell CDs and DVDs.
  • I was born in the 1970s.
  • There were only three skirts left in the sale.
  • She got three As in her exams.
  • I think Sonys are the best DVD players.

Personal pronouns are already possessive, so they don't need an apostrophe: my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs.

For example, none of these have an apostrophe:

  • The house is yours.
  • The dog broke its leg.
  • She said the book was hers.
  • They claimed it was theirs.

The apostrophe is also used:

2. To indicate missing letters in the middle of words or phrases.

  • You cannot have it = You can't have it.
  • Do not do that! = Don't do that!
  • I would like an ice-cream, please = I'd like an ice-cream, please.
  • We had better hurry = We'd better hurry.

Where do I put the apostrophe?
The apostrophe goes directly after the thing doing the possessing:

  • The sun's rays = the rays of the sun.
  • The table's leg = the leg of the table.
  • The archbishop's palace = the palace of the archbishop.
  • The archbishops' palace = the palace of the archbishops.
  • The men's shirts = the shirts of the men.
  • Children's T-shirts = T-shirts of children.
  • The people's princess = the princess of the people.
  • My mother's photo = photo of my mother.
  • One week's notice = notice of one week.
  • Two weeks' notice = notice of two weeks.
  • Three years' experience = experience of three years.
  • Everyone's help = help of everyone.

Get in touch if your marketing copy could do with the once-over from our eagle-eyed team of proofreaders!

Posted on   by Sarah Hickman