Please people, if a flower can get the rules right so can you. Dave Barry may have confused you but, though the apostrophe’s history is long, punctuation really is not as difficult as it may look. You can be right 99% (ok, but at least 90%) of the time by only using an apostrophe in three simple cases:
- To indicate possession (I drove Henry’s car. (though not when using one of the possessive pronouns: his, hers, ours, or its – yes, exceptions to rules are a pain, but just deal with it.));
- To indicate the omission of one or more letters (You’re welcome.); and
- When writing plural letters (watch your p’s and q’s) or plural years (the 1900’s).
Never put an apostrophe before the “s” in a word you just want to make plural. “I saw two cow’s this morning” is just wrong.
I’ve (contraction) read many of Tom Clancy’s (possessive) books (plural), most as they were first published in the 1980’s and 1990’s (plural years).
[later: I’ll give you that the “years” part of rule #3 is optional. References seem split, one showing both “the 1980’s” and “the 1980s” as proper. If you’re going to shorten it by dropping the first two digits (Y2K, anyone?), you would of course replace the dropped digits. “I was born in the ’60s” does indeed appear correct. The main point of my rant, however, stands. No apostrophe should be added to a non-posessive plural.]
Get up late, start slow, taper off quickly.
23 Others went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the LORD,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
On a placard aboard the Calypso Gypsy
via Daniel: “…going ‘out’ without a map should NOT be one of them.”
A map by itself is not enough. You also need to have at least some clue where you are (“ok, I know I’m east of the highway and somewhere north of the river”) and have a compass and/or (preferrably ‘and’ but don’t count on it) good – and visible – landmarks so you can orient yourself to the map. Otherwise it’s just a paper with squiggly lines.
Oh, and training and practice too ~ without understanding it’s still just a paper with squiggly lines.
In the world of backups, that means having a place to restore to when you need it, and periodically testing your recovery procedure. In part so you know how to do it, in part to make sure the backup really worked like you think it did.