The apostrophe is a little squiggle which is often used incorrectly, with wild abandon, in the most inappropriate ways. I'd like to save it, to be an evangelist, and show people how to use it. Join with me on my apostrophe journey which has spanned many years, and hopefully will span many more to come! Teena Hughes

To ask a question or make a comment, please click the COMMENT link under each blog post, and type your comment.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spelling : Proceed, Precede

I've just seen this as a signature file in an email - can anyone spot what's wrong with it?

"Dream Deep because every dream proceeds the goal"

If you said proceeds is the wrong word, you are correct.

If *every dream comes before the goal*, then it precedes it.

Proceeds = can be a result such as money [proceeds from an auction]
Proceeds = can be an action [she proceeds slowly towards the cliff edge]

Precedes = comes before

Hope this helps!


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Apostrophe : sighting of misuse!

A huge corporation has advertised for staff this week, and their online job says, "The role will provide an apportunity to work for inspirational Director's.

"Director's what??!", I ask.

This apostrophe, placed willy nilly, is not needed.

Do the directors own something in this sentence? No.

Is there a missing letter? No.

Then these inspirational directors should be just that - inspirational without an apostrophe!


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Which_word :: Affect or Effect?

Affect or Effect?

How can you remember the differences?

I had a question posed to me recently by a young boy of 10, and I remembered how hard it was for me to understand all this gobbledegook about grammar when I was that age. It doesn't come naturally to most people, it needs to be practiced over and over, and learnt by repetition. Let's see if this helps:

Affect is the *action*.
[Remember A for Action!]

Effect is the result [or END] of the action.
[Remember E for End Result!]


If you're going to do it, use "Affect."

If it's something already done, use "effect."


"Affect" is a verb [doing it], and "effect" is the noun [the end result].


"The internet start-up company I worked for failed - how will that affect me?"

[meaning, "What will happen because of this? Will I be able to find more work?"

"The effect [result] will be that I no longer have a job."


If I spill the milk, it will affect the carpet.

The effect of spilt milk is soggy carpet. [The result.]


Screaming at me will affect my mood.

The effect of your screaming is that I now have a headache, and you've made me very sad. [The result.]


Sending the wrong email to your boss can affect his perception of you.

The effect of your boss reading your email may mean you will get into trouble.


I hope this helps you better understand the differences.

Pop over to to read more.

Let me knoww if you would like more examples ...
Ciao ciao

Friday, March 03, 2006

Misc: What the heck is cumulo nimbus cloud?

What is cumulo nimbus? finds out!

In a previous post I mentioned I had missed out on grammar lessons as a child due to illness, and also missed out on the explanation of clouds. Well I've just done the first bit of research online about clouds since my school days, and here's what I found ...

Cumulonimbus is a type of cloud that is tall, dense, and involved in thunderstorms and other bad weather. The clouds can form alone, in clusters, or along a cold front in a squall line.

Cumulus cloud is one in the shape of individual detached domes, with a flat base and a bulging upper portion resembling cauliflower. Pig puffy clouds!

A nimbus cloud is a dark grey cloud bearing rain. An angry cloud.

As kids we used to chant:

"Rain rain go away
come back another day!"

And don't forget stratus clouds [ok, so I did]! What's the story with them?

There are lots of great info sites, click here to read more definitions.

Visit the

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Welcome to the Humble Apostrophe blog!

The apostrophe is something which has had an important place in my life, I adore it, I want to see it being used properly, I want it to be second nature to all who grow to love it like I do.

When I lived in France for a few years, I took on the same attitude with French written accents [those little lines above some of the alphabet] and graves [pronouned *graahv* rather than the burial place], but as it wasn't my first language, and many French people didn't always know when to use them, my task became trickier, and I eventually gave up trying. I assumed the French laissez-faire attitude [leave it be].

So how did I get to learn about apostrophes?

When I was about 10 years old I missed whole chunks of English grammar and punctuation at school when I had a burst appendix [too much info?] so there are things which I never got around to learning, like clouds - what's the difference between nimbus, cumulus, and cumulo-nimbus?? To this day I've never found out :o)

But I did learn about apostrophes, and it wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I realised I actually knew how and when to use them. I created a website for apostrophes, I talk about them ... a LOT [ask my friends] ...and would dearly love other people learn how to use them properly.

So welcome to my Humble Apostrophe blog, I look forward to sharing with you on this never ending fantastic adventure!