Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tip from Tara: Be Careful What You Do With That Ex...

I recently spotted a book on Netgalley. It had a great cover, but I noticed something that made me cringe ASAP... There's nothing I hate more than typos on book covers. I mean, really, it's proof that pretty much everyone is a publisher nowadays, and if you are putting books out there with typos on the covers, you need to take a step away from the industry because you're doing nobody any favors--not the authors with you, not the readers who may actually think that's the proper spelling--after all, it's on a book cover!

I did a quick little Amazon search and found there is a serious problem with the word EX, EXES, and EX's, and I decided this was a good opportunity to talk about apostrophes and their blatant misuse.

What is wrong with these bits of two book covers and the use of the word EX'S? *I do not know the authors, nor have I read the books. To avoid embarrassing anyone, I've cut the relevant parts, but these are actually on book covers. I use this as an example of apostrophe abuse because this is a book blog. I'm rather dismayed at how often I find this error, on covers, in blurbs, in Yahoo articles. Mind boggling. Apparently it's become acceptable! And while I respect there will be errors in the actual book (I've read some BIG 6 books and noted a typo or two), take care with your covers. And reporters reporting...ugh, they should know better.*

I'm just going to post the correct way of using the word EX, EXES, and EX's.

Let's say your ex-boyfriend had a nice grandma.
"My ex's grandmother was really nice."
One ex, mine, possessive.

Or it could be, "My ex had a nice grandma."
One ex, mine, not possessive.

Let's say your ex and your best friend's ex met each other at the mall or hooked up to have an affair of their own...
"Our exes met at the mall."
Two exes, your ex and your best friend's ex, not possessive.

Let's say your ex and your best friend's ex had a baby together.
"Our exes' child was born yesterday."
Two exes, your ex and your best friend's ex, possessive.

So...the above covers should say EXES. Our EXES hooked up. (The bits come from erotic novels in which exes are hooking up). Ex's is singular, possessive. The above titles make me wonder, "Your ex's what? What does your ex own?"

"I have six exes."
"That's my ex's house."
"Our exes met and had a baby."
"Our exes' baby was born in June."

I'm seeing apostrophes misused everywhere--in song titles, in Yahoo articles...

's is only added when possessive or when two words are shortened to one, like:
"She is" becomes "she's".
"He is" becomes "he's".

You wouldn't say, "I love cowboy's."
The only time that 's would be there is if the cowboy owns something. "I love the cowboy's butt."

And.....that's all folks. 

Image courtesy of farconville /

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