Of all punctuation marks, it seems as though the poor apostrophe gets abused the most.
There’s an example in this photo to the left. I apologize for the poor quality — it’s a cell phone camera picture taken from quite a ways a way.
By way of background, a banner like this one hangs at all Orioles games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is a special section where fans, usually underprivileged kids, sit as guests of Oriole players. It’s a nice program.
For this game, the fans were guests of pitcher Brian Matusz. Now, the section should have been called “Matusz’s Maniacs.” But instead, the banner reads, “Matusz’ Maniacs.”
Poor Brian Matusz. It’s not his fault.
I think the banner was not only an example of poor punctuation, but it must have been bad luck, too. Matusz got shelled by the Toronto Blue Jays that day and didn’t even make it out of the second inning.
I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: We all make grammatical mistakes, including me. But companies with professional marketing and communications staffs should be smart enough to consult an editor before sending grammatical abominations out into the world.
Now that I’m finished razzing the Orioles, I will share one excellent use of the apostrophe.
While shopping recently, I saw a sign in the window of a Dress Barn store advertising cute dresses perfect for “Girls’ Night Out.” Yes! Plural and possessive, and properly executed. If only I had thought to take a picture!