Artist/PR student has apostrophe problems.

A local ad brochure arrived in my mailbox this week. It contained many colorful and attractive advertisements, including one for original artwork by a public relations student. Although the artwork samples shown were beautiful, the ad copy contained three apostrophe errors.  I sincerely hope this college student will get her punctuation straight before she applies for a job in PR.

Here is the first error:

While being here in college and not being able to paint inside my apartment, I have turned my grandparent's home into my own personal art studio. I use their kitchen, den, front door hallway, and covered garage as my own personal design workspace.

Whoops #1: When I read the first sentence, I concluded that this student had only one grandparent living in the house where she creates her art (because the S came before the apostrophe in GRANDPARENT'S).  Then I read the second sentence, which uses the word THEIR and clearly indicates two grandparents.  The apostrophe should come after the S.  Make GRANDPARENTS plural first, then plural possessive.  It should look like this:

While being here in college and not being able to paint inside my apartment, I have turned my grandparents' home into my own personal art studio. I use their kitchen, den, front door hallway, and covered garage as my own personal design workspace.

I HAVE SAID THIS BEFORE, AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN: THE APOSTROPHE SHOULD NOT BE USED TO MAKE A WORD PLURAL. Consider this sentence:

A few years ago one of my teacher's saw some of my doodling on my notebook…..

Whoops #2: In this sentence, TEACHERS is just plural, not possessive.  Nothing belongs to the TEACHERS in this sentence; therefore, no apostrophe is needed.  It should read this way:

A few years ago one of my teachers saw some of my doodling on my notebook…..

 

There are several options to consider when correcting the third apostrophe error.  Consider this sentence:

There is no better feeling than seeing individual's eye light up, and hearing such positive, happy compliments after they view my whimsical, eclectic artwork!

Whoops #3: An INDIVIDUAL is one person.  Does only one of that person's EYES light up when viewing this artwork? If we are talking about one INDIVIDUAL, why is the pronoun THEY used in the second part of the sentence? The simplest way to untangle this sentence is to make it plural, suggesting that lots of people's eyes light up.  Then there is the problem of whether or not SEEING and HEARING should be described as FEELINGS. I would rewrite it this way:

There is no better experience than seeing people's eyes light up and hearing such positive, happy compliments after they view my whimsical, eclectic artwork!

 

Certainly, the art student should have learned how to use apostrophes correctly, but I would also fault the copy editor for not spotting the three errors and correcting them before the publication went to the printer. If I were hiring someone in PR, neither of them would get the job!

 

 

 

 


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