In Seattle, where I live, the entire city is fired by Seahawks fan fever. To wave a banner for our team to win tomorrow’s Super Bowl, I offer an apostrophe test. (What else can a business writing expert do?)
In the paragraph below, add apostrophes (’) where necessary.
Tomorrow the talented, young Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is up against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The Seahawks will need the strong defense they are known for as they face the Broncos strong offense. The teams are playing in New Jerseys MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants, in what both teams fans hope will be moderate weather. What will Sundays game bring? In a years time, what will we remember the game for? Seattle Seahawks fans are hoping for a win to long remember. Go Hawks!
How many apostrophes did you add?
Before you scroll down to compare your revised paragraph with mine, note that I added five apostrophes.
Here is my paragraph with apostrophes added:
Tomorrow the talented, young Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is up against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The Seahawks will need the strong defense they are known for as they face the Broncos’ strong offense. The teams are playing in New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants, in what both teams' fans hope will be winning weather. What will Sunday's game bring? In a year's time, what will we remember the game for? Seattle Seahawks fans are hoping for a win to long remember. Go Hawks!
Here is a sentence-by-sentence explanation:
In the first sentence, Seahawks and Broncos do not have apostrophes because they are being used as simple adjectives rather than possessive forms. (Compare "Seattle quarterback" and "Denver quarterback," which are not possessive.)
In the second sentence, Seahawks is a simple plural, not a possessive form. Broncos' has an apostrophe because the form is possessive. Because Broncos is plural, the apostrophe goes after the letter s.
Third sentence: The first teams has no apostrophe as a simple plural. New Jersey's includes the apostrophe as a possessive form; the stadium is New Jersey's. Giants is a simple plural. Teams' has an apostrophe after the s because it is a plural form; that is, it refers to both teams.
Fourth sentence: Sunday's is a singular possessive form.
Fifth sentence: Although year's may not seem like a possessive form, it is. The time of a year is a year's time, just the way the face of your father is your father's face.
Sixth sentence: Again Seahawks is an adjective rather than a possessive form. Just as "Seattle fans" does not require an apostrophe, neither does "Seahawks fans."
Final exclamation: I suppose you could insert an apostrophe before Hawks if you really wanted to–to show that the letters S-e-a have been omitted. But that seems fussy. Hawks is clearly a nickname.
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