Tag Archives: writetip

Attack of the Apostrophes


Here’s a tip to help with using apostrophes correctly when showing possession:

Just remember the phrase Attack of the Apostrophes. The “of the” in this phrase is the key to deciding where to stick the apostrophe.

First, rewrite your sentence in Noun1 of the Noun2 format.

tire of the car
litter box of the cat (one cat, one litter box)
litter box of the cats (multiple cats using the same litter box)
current of the rapids

Next, add the apostrophe to the end of Noun2

tire of the car’
litter box of the cat’
litter box of the cats’
current of the rapids’

Then remove the “of the”, add the s after the apostrophe (when the noun is singular), and switch to Noun2 Noun1 format.

car’s tire
cat’s litter box
cats’ litter box
rapids’ current (not rapid’s current which might be tempting to do)

Attack of the Apostrophes— I think this trick is the bee’s knees (or is it bees’ knees) and hope using it helps you too.

Direct Address Commas, Y’all

Q. When do you need to use a comma when directly addressing someone or something in a sentence?
A. Always! (maybe there is some exception to this rule, but I don’t know what it would be)

with a specific name:
Jack, are you ready?
Are you ready yet, Jack?
Yes, Jack, I’m talking to you.

without a specific name:
My good man, are you ready?
Are you ready, my good man?
Yes, my good man, I’m talking to you.
Class, are you ready?
Are you ready, class?
Yes, class, I’m talking to you.

addressing something
Stop looking at me, swan. (Bonus points if you can name the movie)

More often than not, I see people forgetting the comma when a specific name isn’t used. Keeping an eye out for this rule while reading bedtime stories to my son has helped reinforce its usage.

Hi, Piggie.
Hi, Gerald. (We read a lot of Mo Willems at our house)

You can’t get much simpler than that.

So, writers, don’t forget those direct address commas. Okay?

P.S. If you find any missing commas in sentences from Atomic Aardvark, go easy on me.