Stop apostrophe misuse

Most of us have grammar and usage pet peeves. Mine is the rampant, inexplicable misuse of the apostrophe to make plurals. I wish I could trace this widespread error back to its source and stamp it out. But, failing that, I think the next best thing is to spread the word.

(At this point, I slip into my schoolmarm mode.)

Do not use ‘s to make a singular noun plural — ever. It’s always wrong. The only time you need ‘s to make a plural is with single letters: My son earned all A’s and B’s on his report card. Most stylebooks say that you don’t even need ‘s for multiple letters: Many people do not know how to program their VCRs.

Learn the irregular plurals, such as children or geese, or look them up.My dream is that someday everyone will remember what he or she learned in the primary grades about making nouns plural and we’ll never again be faced with a sign such as this: Pick up order’s here.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.