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Regarding the absence or presence of the apostrophe.  Sometimes it's a question of a magazine's 'House Style'.

I grew up using it in phrases like the 1950's, but although I often still add it instinctively I now usually take it back out when editing my own work before submission.  (I freely admit that I sometimes add an apostrophe in the wrong place when in full flow, so this is one of the things on my mental checklist when editing.  I also have a handful of other 'standard errors' which persist, so they're in that list as well.)
For me this is a largely practical choice because many magazines now print it without, and the closer your submission is to what the publisher wants the more chance there is of being accepted.  (If they receive two pieces of otherwise equal merit and suitability for their publication they will choose the one which is easiest to produce.  Publishing is a business, not a free critique and editing service.  Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.)

I suspect many schools no longer successfully teach apostrophes properly and children learn they can 'get away' with just leaving them out.

This is to some extent correct in that any reader who doesn't know their purpose may find them annoying and confusing.  But a reader who does know their value will be even more infuriated by a misplaced apostrophe which can completely change the meaning of a whole sentence.

There is, for example, a world of difference between Polly's hat, which indicates the hat belongs to Polly, and Pollys hat, where the lack of an apostrophe suggests a collection of girls called Polly and makes the sentence into nonsense when there is only one of her.
I fear there is a tendency in modern publishing to see all punctuation as the 'irritating and mysterious bits between words'.  Or as a 'stylistic choice', which is even worse.

The Gallery / Author Unknown -poem
« Last post by JanTetstone on Today at 04:22:21 AM »
Author Unknown

I have a gift
my god
gave to me
To write
the unwritten
to unsing the song
to rewrite what
has not been.

I don't write
to impress
the eyes that read
with a closed heart
closed  mind.

I write for the
broken hearted
who in a fake
filled world
is lost in the
dreams created
by others.

Some of the
best writers
are those who
touched lives
and hearts
and moved on...

Marked by a greedy
writer's hand
"author unknown."
-Jan Tetstone

4:17am November 15, 2018
The Writers Circle / Re: Keeping track of timelines
« Last post by Gyppo on Today at 03:59:27 AM »
Please note:  The above post s just a piece of puff designed to make you click on the link.  The link leads to one of those damned essay writing service for students who are either too thick, 'too busy', or so accustomed to 'cheating' in computer games that they see nothing wrong in paying someone else to do their work for them.

QUOTE:  Get the best offers for essays going as low as $12.99/page
Do you hesitate in subscribing to an online writing service just because it is too expensive? Do you believe that the current online writing businesses are just making unreasonable profits? Or ever wonder of who can write an essay for me at cheap rates?

No, Angela, I don't wonder any of the above.  But my bullshit detector works just fine.

The whole idea of any college or university course is that you learn the skills for yourself, to show you have at least an adequate grasp of the subject and the work involved.

A certificate on your wall is worthless unless you've earned it properly.

The Gallery / Fruitfulness
« Last post by Dylan di Vilde on Today at 03:49:18 AM »

Wouldn’t it be terrific
to be eager and prolific? -
creating  poems daily
then publishing ‘em gaily.
I’d be like a Cheshire cat
if I could churn ‘em out like that.

I’d spend all day and night
wallpapering the site
‘til people said Hey -
that’s enough for today.
‘til people said Damn -
is that a bloke or spam?
‘til people said Wait -
Just take it easy mate.
And finally said Phew -
Is it all about you?

I suppose I’m not that eager,
my output fairly meagre.

But with radical solutions
I could harvest contributions.
Others I’d enrol -
all under my control.
My dark imagination shows
industrial scenarios -
a poet-slave production line
or dwarves down a magical poetry mine!
I’d build a reputation
for ruthless exploitation -
my domination tightening
my output targets frightening.

But for now..  it’s just me,
a large pot of tea
and a Mars bar or two
when I’ve nowt else to do.
I’ll wait ‘til I’m at a loose end and then
pop one out every now and again.

The Writers Circle / Re: Keeping track of timelines
« Last post by AngelaKinsey52 on Today at 01:19:08 AM »
By utilizing an online project management software, you can quickly track and execute planned activities, plan timeline, and keep your eye on ...
All the Write Questions / Re: Question
« Last post by JanTetstone on Yesterday at 10:30:35 PM »
I find the phrase 'in and of itself' irritating. Can someone tell me how this got to be a near-universal phrase and what exactly it means? It sound like the thing - whatever it happens to be - is true both 'of itself' and 'in itself' and neither makes any more sense than the full rendering.

“In and of itself” is one of those phrases like “each and every” and “part and parcel” that say the same thing twice. Usually it is enough to say “in itself.”


This is a give-and-take community of writers, with some intrinsic depth of talent and experience represented here. It's a good resource - who knows, someone might mention to you that the correct pluralization is 1980s.


Mark, your comment interests  me because  I was taught in school to write it 1980's.
Example: I was born in the 1980's.

Just to make sure age hadn't robbed me of memory:

Today, I asked two ladies, who were born 26 years apart (the oldest 71 and the youngest 45) to write a sentence using what each were taught in school to help me answer "which is correct 1980s or 1980's.

This is what they wrote:

[71 year old]
I was born in the 1980's when murder and robberies had taken over the world.   

[45 year old]
I was born in the 1980's.

Searching the internet I found both   1980s and 1980's are still in use today.   

1980s or 1980's

"We are in a circle of fire," he wrote in the 1980's. (AmE,newspaper)

Four asteroids found in space in the 1980s are called John, George, Ringo and Paul after the Beatles. (BrE, newspaper)

The “misery index” was created as a simple measure of the well-being of the general populous by economist Arthur Okun in the 1960’s by simply adding the unemployment rate on top of the inflation rate. The 1970’s coined the term “stagflation” which was a condition where the economy stagnates in spite of rampant inflation.

Although starting badly, the 1980’s was a time of falling inflation and an improving misery index.

The form without the apostrophe (1980s) is considerably more frequent than the form with the apostrophe (1980’s), and the use of the apostrophe is declining.

 Many believe that the use of the apostrophe is dying out, but if they were to go back in time and claim that using the apostrophe is wrong then many 1950's-era prescriptivist linguists would be highly upset.            jt

The Coffee Shop / Re: The MWC Bar/Red Barren Bar
« Last post by Noizchild on Yesterday at 07:02:21 PM »
Yay, someone else posted here!
Review My Poetry / Encaged By Time
« Last post by JanTetstone on Yesterday at 04:27:22 PM »
Encaged By Time

I set here in the quite of life
the gray dreary sky frowning
through my window.
Holding a tattered and torn
old book on my lap, taking the
time to think back to places
where shivers of my heart lay
-encaged in other times.
                -Jan Tetstone

4:18 PM November 14, 2018

All the Write Questions / Transitional phrases and sentences
« Last post by JanTetstone on Yesterday at 03:08:49 PM »

The state of mind of the writer is not the state of mind of his reader. The writer knows his ideas, and has spent much time with them.  The reader meets these ideas for the first time, and must gather them in at a glance.  The relation between two ideas may be clear to the writer, and not at all clear to the reader.

In passing from one thought to another, make the connection clear.  If necessary, insert a word, a phase, or even a sentence, to carry the reader safely across.

The simplest means of securing smooth transitions is by a  liberal use of connectives:

1. however
2. on the other hand
3. equally important
4. another interesting problem is
5. for this reason
6. the remedy for this condition
7. so much for
8. it remains to mention
9. of course I admit
10. finally

Transitional phrases and sentences are useful not only in securing coherence within the paragraph but also in joining one paragraph to another.

Good Luck with your writing.      jt
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