Apostrophe Catastrophe (Part One)

Today's topic is tough apostrophe issues.

Mignon Fogarty
6-minute read
Episode #712

The Apostrophe Song

To cap off this first installment about apostrophes, I have a fabulous song written by a listener named Eileen Thorpe.

Now, Eileen must have also been affected by some kind of apostrophe trauma because she wrote these words, which are sung to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree” by Rahel Jaskow of Jerusalem, Israel.

Apostrophe (Oh Christmas Tree)

by Eileen Thorpe

Apostrophe, apostrophe
You drive me oh so batty.
Apostrophe, apostrophe
Your overuse is a travesty.
Some people just can’t get enough
They must think you’re hot stuff
Apostrophe, apostrophe
Some rules to avoid catastrophe.

It’s hers and theirs and yours and its
when you want to possess a bit
And when you need to pluralize,
You don’t need to apostrophize.
And what of words that end in esess?
An apostrophe will only make a mess’s.

I wonder why you so confuse
I’m sure you’re tired of this abuse.
Apostrophe, apostrophe
You drive me oh so batty.

Wasn't that fabulous? Thanks again to Eileen Thorpe and  Rahel Jaskow. You can check out Rahel's blog Elms in the Yard, at http://elmsintheyard.blogspot.com/, and listen to clips from her award-winning CD, Day of Rest, at http://cdbaby.com/cd/rahel/.


  1. Burchfield, R. W, ed. The New Fowler's Modern English Usage. Third edition. New York: Oxford, 1996, p. 61.
  2. Cavella, C., and Kernodle, R.A.  How the Past Affects the Future: The Story of the Apostrophe.

Further Reading

Apostrophe Protection Society

Banana image, by Evan Amos via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY SA-3.0




About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.