Master Your Message Blog

The Biggest Grammar Gaff in Presentations

There’s nothing that makes me crazier than to see really bad grammar in two foot high letters on the screen.

Here’s an example: 5 DVD’s.
I see this all the time. But it’s incorrect. The apostrophe means it’s possessive … NOT plural.

If it’s plural … it should look like this: “5 CDs.” 5 DVDs – the same thing. Now, if I said “I put the DVD’s cases in the trunk,” it would be correct with an apostrophe “s” … You see, the cases belong to the DVDs – and so it’s possessive. Although it’s kind of a weird sentence.

So … apostrophes do not generally denote plurals. But there are exceptions … After all, it IS English.

Single letters and numbers require an apostrophe “s” for clarity. I got 5 A’s on my report card. Otherwise, it could be construed as I got 5 As (as) on my report card.

Apostrophes also replace dropped letters or numbers.
I’m a child of the 60’s. 60’s is not possessive in this case, so it should be 60s. But we’re really referring to the 1960s – it’s missing the 19. So, you write it this way: ’60s. The apostrophe tells me there’s something missing.

Bad grammar affects your reputation. It makes some audience members think you’re either poorly educated, disorganized or what’s worse, just don’t care.

English is a screwy language, granted. We should try not to make it more difficult to understand than it already is. So remember to double check your screen for proper grammar. Because I might be in the audience!

Comments for this Post

Leave a Comment