You’re All Pluralising ‘Cars’ Incorrectly

You’re All Pluralising ‘Cars’ Incorrectly
Image: Getty Images

I know it’s petty and probably shitty to go after grammar, but enough is enough. I read countless comments, tweets, blogs and smoke signals from you people on the daily, and by far the most common fuckup I see comes down to pluralising cars. I cannot believe I have to reteach this to you.

Alright, as a quick refresher—The Apostrophe. There are many uses for it, but it’s primarily used in a contraction of two words (“it’s” for “it is” or “you’re” for “you are”) and for denoting possession (“Jason’s Figaro”).

It is NEVER used for indicating plurals.

Here is a collection of frustrating and incorrect examples:

  • “My divorced dad had nine Corvette’s.”

  • “I’ve always been a fan of the MR2’s.”

  • “You sold 19 Honda’s today.”

  • “Anyone who drives lifted F-150’s has no taste.”

Unless something belongs to the Corvette, MR2, Honda or F-150, you take that apostrophe and get the hell out.

And let us also remember the plural possessive, though not used nearly as much. If you have something belonging to multiple cars, it would look something like, “the Corvettes’ wheels.”

While we’re at it, years are never pluralised with apostrophes, either. “Ferrari’s of the 1980’s” is so, so wrong. It should be “Ferraris of the 1980s.” If you are, however, indicating a decade and leaving the first two numerals out, then use an apostrophe thusly: “muscle cars in the ‘70s.” It’s all explained here on the AP Style page from the Purdue Writing Lab.

I don’t know when botching pluralisation became so commonplace. It’s not just with cars. I’ve seen signs at businesses that read: “No dog’s allowed,” “Reservation’s required,” “Bathroom’s not for public use” and “Apple’s and peach’s $4 a bushel.” Are we all just a pack of deranged animals now?

In fact, the issue has gotten so out of hand a society that dedicated itself to preserving the correct usage of the apostrophe is shutting down. No, I’m not making this up.

The Apostrophe Protection Society is a very real thing that was founded in 2001 by John Richards “with the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much-abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English Language,” its website reads.

Unfortunately, after nearly 20 years, Richards is shutting it down, reports the UK’s Evening Standard. He gives two reasons on the site. First, he’s 96 and therefore “cutting back on [his] commitments.” Second, he realises fewer and fewer people and organisations appear to care about the apostrophe’s correct usage.

“We, and our many supporters worldwide,” he writes, “have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!”

I cannot see how adding an apostrophe to pluralise something is lazy since it’s the physical addition of extra punctuation. Perhaps Richards means laziness for not bothering to fix the error and repeating it.

Anyway, I’ll not name names here because I’m not an arsehole, but I needed to speak up about it. And to the trolls who will race straight past all this writing just to leave an incorrectly pluralised car in the comments, I commend you! You’re really original and clever and I bet every woman who’s ever laughed at your jokes did so because she genuinely thought you were funny.

This story originally appeared on Jalopnik.


    • I believe it’s American NOW because it WAS English when America’s dialects separated from British English. The English changed it, whereas the Americans kept it. I may be wrong, but apparently there are instances of “gotten” in Shakespeares works.

      It’s like the variations of -our vs -or. We can see how -or USED to be correct, because we now spell colour but still also coloration, or honour but still also honorary. It’s only changed in the primary root but not the derivative words.

      • My understanding of this is that the American accent is closer to the English accent of 300 years ago; however American spelling was the invention of Noah Webster (Webster’s Dictionary), who proposed ‘new spelling for the new continent’ – most of which was removing vowels, and replacing every other letter with z – a lot of it caught on, but a lot was also reverted back to the English (and Australian) spelling we enjoy today.

    • Agreed.

      I can’t believe some “journo” thinks she HAS to teach me anything.

      You’re clearly not well versed if you think.we ALL need to be retaught this…

      Did they not teach you that generalisations should never be used to apply to an entire population???

      Condescending is the nicest term I could use for it…

  • I wonder what all the English teachers were doing on apostrophe day!!

    If children are not taught how to use their mother tongue correctly, don’t blame the children.

  • Please, Kristen would you take over from Mr Richards? I am one of those horrible people who whips out a pen and corrects rogue apostrophes in public places. You’re so right; it’s more difficult to add an apostrophe where none is required. So, if people would read articles like yours (especially teachers, who no longer have any idea where apostrophes should go), and learn the simple reasons behind them, surely they would see how simple it is.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!