The title for this post comes from a sentence once thoughtlessly uttered in my presence: "There's chairs over there."
What's wrong with this sentence, people? Let's break apart that first word, "there's." It is the word "there" with an apostrophe and an "s." There are two very basic and common uses for the apostrophe in the English language:
1. To show possession
2. To show omission (as in the case of contractions)
I believe the speaker intended the second thing; that is to say, she meant the contraction for "there is."
This would have been fine if the rest of the sentence had been, "...a chair over there." Breaking it down, what she actually said was, "There is chairs over there."
No. No no no no no. There's NOT chairs over there. Trust me on this.
"There are chairs over there," yes.
"There is chairs over there," no.
NO, DAMN IT.
Gah, you hear this sloppy English all the time, everywhere—sales people do it, politicians do it, even writers and educators do it! It's uttered on the news, for pity's sake! THE NEWS! It's so pervasive that people default to it unwittingly.
Well, stop it.
There's another mistaken use of the apostrophe + s, which is a perverted attempt at pluralization that also pisses me off. Banana's, nut's, or chocolate's = wrong. Bananas, nuts, or chocolates = right (oh, so deliciously right!). See what I did there? I magically multiplied the number of comestibles without abusing any apostrophes. (And not apostrophe's, for the love of all that's holy.)
To see more shocking examples of maltreated apostrophes, check out the Apostrophe Catastrophes blog, if you can bear such horrors.
And if you need a bit of help sorting out other apostrophe uses in this hellish era, check out this nifty little number:
Or take a look at Grammar Girl's essay on the apostrophe here.
Come on, folks—let us all fight the good fight. BE the change you want to see in the world. We can make it a better place, one well-placed apostrophe at a time.