1. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    What is the apostrophe rule on non-humans / beasts?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Tyler Danann, Dec 2, 2014.

    I'm just editing my work and seem to of hit a ran-around when it comes to this.

    Here's some examples that are confusing me a bit:

    Now facing the mountain range up-close its dark carapace soared up into the faded sky. I'm sure this is correct.


    The three-foot arrow went winging towards the targets center of mass. It was an armor-piercing arrowhead and it plunged deep into the creatures bulbous chest-cavity. Organs and strange anatomy were ripped apart as it burying itself up to the fletchings. Not sure about these ones.

    So I'm a bit stuck on certain aspects but not others of the apostrophe use. The guidelines are straightforward, but when you get into deep sci-fi and fantasy with hybrid creatures not human but not fully beast Then a brightness flared in its eyes as Ghone sent waves of flame licking out, damaging its vision. Nireth whirled her sling and released it, sending a globe of fire to ignite in a stunning shower of liquid flame against the creatures upper body. Ditto

    The Vril were not renowned for close-quarter fighting prowess but Wilderen was as tall as a door and strong. The adversary gave off a foul odor as Wilderen struggled to match the beast’s weight and savage intensity. Its projected jaw snapped once, almost taking a chunk out of his face until he jerked his head back. Then managing to trip it with a kick he narrowly managed to topple the beast to the ground. I've stuck one in here, correct?

    The weaponry of the intruders' caused it great alarm, but now the Saken race were assembling and soon would commence their righteous retaliation. Correct one here?

    Help appreciated.
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Responses in caps and italics. Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
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  3. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    1. Correct.

    2. Incorrect. target's and creature's

    3. Incorrect. creature's (unless it's multiple creatures. Then it would be creatures')

    4. Correct.

    5. Incorrect. intruders (no apostrophe)

    The rules are the same regardless of whether or not the subject is human.
     
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  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ The weaponry of the intruders = 2/ The intruders' weaponry.

    1a/ The crown of the King = 2a/ The King's crown

    And, sorry Chinspinner, but the "its" in the first example is the possessive, so has no apostrophe - if it were a contraction of "it is", an apostrophe would be required.
     
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  5. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Got this little cheeky one:

    They were all so concentrated that any thought of Terra was far from their minds’. Previously I had this without any apostrophe!
     
  6. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know I said Yes, as in yes he was correct. Then explained that if it had an apostrophe it would be a contraction of it is.
     
  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, I misunderstood!
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Putting an apostrophe implies the possessive. So what do the minds possess in the above sentence? I'd suggest nothing, and therefore it is NOT the possessive, and the apostrophe is incorrect.

    The only time (I can't think of any other instance, but stand to be corrected) that the possessive case of a noun does NOT have an apostrophe is when it is the pronoun (his, hers, its, theirs). But to be the possessive, there must be something to be possessed. "With all the assembled royalty of a dozen nations, the crowd marvelled at the Kings' crowns". Because each King possesses a crown.
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just because a word ends in "s" does NOT mean an apostrophe.

    Although there may be exceptions I can't think of, the only two reasons to use an apostrophe are:

    1) if something belongs to someone or something: "the flower's red petals, the people's choice, Fred's bicycle, the teacher's rule

    or

    2) to denote a missing letter or letters in a word: don't (do not), isn't (is not) it's (it is).
    "I wanna go 'ome, Mama."

    (The "it" example can give people pause because the word may also indicate something belonging to an animal or an inanimate object: its beady eye was focused on me, its colour was red. These usages don't get an apostrophe because the form of the word as used here is plural. Don't ask!)

    When you come to a word ending in "s" always ask yourself: Is this showing possession or denoting a missing letter? If the answer is "no" ...then there is no apostrophe. In other words (greengrocers take note) a sack of potatoes does NOT get an apostrophe. Nor do banks that are responsible for the credit crunch. Nor do the girls you see walking towards you on the pavement. If the "s" denotes more than one potato, bank or girl, then no apostrophe.
     
  10. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    That must mean this one:

    It had been via mysterious and arcane projections that tested their minds and psyche to the very limits of endurance but they had managed it. Remains without apostrophe!? :)
     
  11. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    I get all that, but sometimes I have loose echos of possessive tendencies showing up in some sentences, plural possible possessives also too.
    Sometimes I wish I didn't write so complex, such are the ways...
     
  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, don't feel bad. At least you're aware of the issue. And we all have weaknesses in our writing arsenal. You can catch these mistakes during an edit, provided you know what you're looking for.
     
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  13. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Yes because an apostrophe would indicate something belonging to the "mind." Your sentence implies the mind and psyche belonging to something. If you dropped the "and" and made "mind" possessive by adding an apostrophe, you would change the sentence's meaning to the psyche of the mind belonging to something.
     
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  14. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Yes. A different example would be to describe something as being in one's 'mind's eye'. The mind possesses the eye, so apostrophe (and the 'one' possesses the mind).
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "Minds" is not possessive in that sentence. "The limits of endurance" is a noun clause. 'Endurance' is not possessed by 'limits'.
     
  16. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    "If we lose the orbs now it’s the end. This world’s beings are awake like a dragon now, who knows what they will do if they retake them now?" Ok? :)
     
  17. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    The other took a few steps of dying-death as it joined it’s comrade bleeding out on the dusty ground. Incorrect?
     
  18. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    "Its" (without the apostrophe) is the possessive of "it." On the other hand, "it's" (with an apostrophe) is a contraction for "it is." So if you're unsure of which one to use, replace "it's" with "it is" and see if the sentence still makes sense. In your example, "...as it joined it is comrade..." doesn't make sense. Also realize that "it" is possessing "comrade," so the possessive form is the one you want.
     
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  19. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Sigrun's next arrow-shot exploded forward and to the left; next to a mass of Saken that swarmed next to the beast for cover. I think this is still possessive...?
     
  20. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Terry's toupe was a wig that Sarah's half-brother's third uncle's distant nephew's minds eye in all its vain glory would simply lambaste as a horse's arse.

    I have lost track now.
     
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  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, it's possessive. If you had no apostrophe there ("Sigruns"), that would mean you're talking about more than one Sigrun.
     
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Here is a really good link on simplifying this whole kerfuffle.

    http://www.chompchomp.com/rules/aposrules.htm

    I'm especially impressed by the exercise of adding in a phrase to show possession. In your above example, you could say: "The next arrow-shot sent by Sigrun exploded forward..." If you can do that, you are showing 'possession.' Something Sigrun did, owned, etc will require an apostrophe. If there are two Sigruns standing side by side, however, this rephrasing won't work. That's your clue.

    The article also spells it out clearly regarding the it's-its controversy. A pronoun NEVER takes a possessive apostrophe. Hers, theirs, its, etc. So, the word it will only need an apostrophe if there is a letter missing afterwards.

    If you can say 'it is' and the sentence makes sense, then a letter is missing. It's a nice day out there. It is a nice day out there also makes sense. There is simply a letter missing in the first example and you should use an apostrophe to replace the missing letter.

    However, it's beady eye was fixed on me? If you said: It is beady eye was fixed on me ...that doesn't make sense. So no apostrophe. There is no missing letter.

    I think the trick is to NEVER EVER just automatically use an apostrophe. You must ask yourself each time ...why am I doing this? Is it just because the word ends in "s?"
     
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  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Someone probably said this, but I haven't seen it yet in the thread: The rules are the same whether the subject is human, beast, or inanimate object.
     
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  24. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think every possible combobulation of this rule has been stated twice.
     
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  25. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Combobulation! Now that is some wordage!
     

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