Using apostrophes like decoration
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Shutterstock This punctuation faux pas indicates that you have little understanding of possession. Beth Billard, an English teacher in Brooklyn, New York, explains that students often just “put [apostrophes] anywhere as if they’re decoration or leave them out and the writing becomes unintelligible.” One pesky issue is often knowing how to use them when you’re talking about possession. Though putting an apostrophe and an “s” to indicate possession is often common knowledge, remember that if the name ends in “s” to just add the apostrophe (Mr. Jones’ apple). Whatever you do, don’t use an apostrophe to make a singular noun plural—that’s not how it works! Check out these weird facts about those punctuation marks you see everywhere.
Forgetting the comma after the year in a date or after a state name
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, Shutterstock Not putting a comma after the year in a date (On August 21, 2017, there was an eclipse) or after a state name (I live in Albany, New York, and I have a dog) is one of the biggest punctuation pet peeves of Jenny Tilley, an arts editor in Bloomington, Indiana. “These might seem like tiny, insignificant errors, but they can affect the overall clarity and change meaning. When things are being translated to other languages, using incorrect grammar and punctuation can affect understanding,” she says. These are the 70 words (and phrases) you’re probably using all wrong.