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Zap The Apostrophe

ufo newspaperMy formal research of and writing about UFOs and extraterrestrial life began only slightly more than a year ago. However, it took no time at all for me to become annoyed by a very common practice many people use when writing about UFOs – the apostrophe.

How many times have you seen “UFOs” written as “UFO’s”? I see it on a daily basis, and it drives me crazy every time.

Let’s take a trip back to elementary school.

The apostrophe is used either to show possession (e.g. The ship’s lights were flashing), or with a contraction (e.g. I can’t believe what I’m seeing).

ufos in spaceSo, you can use “UFO’s” when writing a sentence like, “The UFO’s shape was triangular,” or “We could see into the UFO’s many windows.” But when used in a title like “UFO’s In Space” or “Four States Sight UFO’s,” the usage of the apostrophe is wrong.

If you read someone’s writing and notice the incorrect apostrophe usage in the word “UFOs,” bring it to his or her attention so we can eliminate this problem.

Thanks for letting me rant.

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About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

One comment

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    I think where this got started is the use of apostrophes after acronyms that include periods. So you would be correct to write “U.F.O.’s” but not “UFO’s” unless you are using it as a possessive, as in “the UFO’s massive size dwarfed the plane”. UFO is an acronym, but does not contain periods.

    If the acronym ended in an “s” then you would be correct to use an apostrophe being the s, assuming you could pluralize it.

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