The skydeck of the Willis Tower---and a low point in grammar history.
On the skydeck of the Willis Tower—a low point in grammar history.

It’s really a shame that the apostrophe is so massively misused, sometimes in embarrassingly public spaces.

For example, daily thousands of people are on the Willis Tower Skydeck, as I was recently during an excursion in Chicago.

Among other amazing sights, including a fun foray onto the Ledge, I beheld a most prominent display of what I’ll call it’s-itis, the rampant tendency to insert an apostrophe where it doesn’t belong (see the photo above).

To put my opening line another way, it is a shame.

Mamas and papas, don’t let your babies grow up to be apostrophe over-users!

(Did you notice that friendly memory device? If you cannot substitute “it is” for “it’s,” then that means you should keep the apostrophe out of the picture.)

Another common misuse of the apostrophe: in instances where a grammatically challenged soul is clumsily, and unintentionally, turning a pluralization into possessive.

This is rampant at holiday-time, when the Barons inexplicably are assigned “Baron’s” status.

There…now I feel better. Carry on–and if you head to the Willis Tower Skydeck, you might want to bring some nail polish or white-out to fix that gigantic miscue.

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