Homenewsabout usContact UsWebsite

T's and C's do not apply

The possessive apostrophe is one of the most misused pieces of punctuation, cropping up everywhere, except where it should be. The most common one seen everywhere is T's and C's apply. As this is supposed to be an abbreviation of 'terms and conditions apply' - then the apostrophe is clearly wrong because the term and condition do not have anything belonging to them, they are plurals, therefore they do not need a possessive apostrophe.

The same is true of non-government organisations – should be NGOs; small and medium enterprises – should be SMEs; chief executive officers – should be CEOs; compact discs – should be CDs, digital versatile discs – should be DVDs and, when referring to dates, it is the 90s.

Which brings us finally to the another place the possessive apostrophe is not used – its and whose – the baby crawled on it’s hands and knees and who’s book is this – are the kind of mistakes that often crop up. In both these cases, the apostrophes can only be used to indicate there is a letter missing – it’s is short for it is and who’s is short for who is.

Gwen Watkins, head of Freelancers Writing Services, is a freelance writer, editor, subeditor and author with 35 years international experience in industrial and commercial writing. Her Master NLP Practitioner skills give expert grounding in brand communication and native advertising. She has lectured on advertising, marketing, conferences, events & exhibitions and journalism. She could be described as a ‘Fairy Grammar’!

29 Jun 2017 13:25


About Gwen Watkins

Gwen Watkins is a freelance writer, editor, subeditor and author. Almost 40 years of experience across industrial and commercial writing, as a reporter and PR consultant, has given her expert grounding in brand communication and native advertising. A Master NLP Practitioner, she uses these skills within the creation of copywriting, annual reports, brochures and website copy.