Apostrophe OCD

The Grammar Witch strikes again.

I’ve been dealing with certain persistent health issues, and I know that makes me hyper-sensitive to things that normally wouldn’t bother, um, normal people (a title I’ve never laid claim to). When I’ve been through a run of neurological stuff, things that wouldn’t usually bother me can shift me into OCD mode. So, please forgive this nit-picky chalk-on-a-blackboard reaction.

More and more, I’m seeing apostrophes added to make proper nouns plural. To make matters more itchy-scratchy, this is being done by people who know the rules of grammar, and who normally wouldn’t let something like that slip past them. For example, of the Christmas cards I received this year, there were a number that did this on the address label. Instead of “The Smiths,” the address labels would say “The Smith’s.”

Today I received a mailing that I have gotten every weekday for many years, from someone I’ve never seen make an error in grammar or punctuation, and they wrote “Friday’s” instead of “Fridays.”

Did I somehow miss a grammar rule change? Have the guidelines been altered to allow for a common mistake? It’s probably happened before, so maybe it’s just that I haven’t been paying attention. However, The Blue Book of Grammar 1 (a favorite of mine; I have the paperback copy and spend much time on the website for quick checks as well) still says:

“Rule 2e. Never use an apostrophe to make a name plural.

Incorrect: The Wilson’s are here.
Correct: The Wilsons are here.

Incorrect: We visited the Sanchez’s.
Correct: We visited the Sanchezes.”

I know I don’t have all of the grammar rules of American English perfected, and I am certain I make my share of mistakes. When I’m writing quickly, for instance, commas will often appear (or disappear) to embarrass me during edits. I still often get derailed by “who” and “whom.” My brain still, after all these years of knowing better, tries to follow the British English rule about commas and quotation marks.

However, this growing tendency to throw apostrophes in everywhere just bugs me.

(Today, apparently, more than usual.2)

1. The Blue Book of Grammar, on Amazon
2. Yes, that was a sentence fragment.
I did that on purpose. ::wink::

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