As I was typing today, my fingers accidentally stuck an apostrophe in a plural word. I caught it instantly, breathing hard. It is one of my pet peeves. I'm starting to see it everywhere, as in, The Markowski's went to the store or Stock up on the advantage's of insurance. Aarrgh.
Apostrophes are used for contractions:
it is = it's
is not = isn't
Apostrophes are used for some possessives:
Mary's ball, The Fratellis' horses, the nation's president, the Markowskis' house or George Markowski's house
Apostrophes are not used for possessive pronouns:
his horse, her horse, its mother
And apostrophes are certainly not used for plurals.
Here's a usage blooper I caught in a news article the other day:
It doesn’t take a musical scholar to deduct all of this wasn't as 'artistically significant' as what came after.
Ouch! We deduct charitable donations from our income taxes, or deduct the cost of goods sold from the sales price to calculate our profits, but we deduce conclusions from evidence using our reasoning processes.
Here are a few more things I'm seeing everywhere lately.
troop: Since when did troop come to mean an individual soldier? Troop is a collective noun. Like Girl Scout troop. If you say "five troops were injured in Afghanistan today," that's really more than five individuals.
I think perhaps our news people are shying away from soldier. Or is it that they're trying to be gender inclusive? Well, soldier or sailor can be either. How odd would it be if we said, "George is an army troop"? But that's what we're implying when we talk talk about troops as individuals.
momentos: No such word! Keepsakes have to do with memory. Thus even if they are fleeting keepsakes, they are mementos.
graduate high school: Graduate is not a transitive verb. It does not take a direct object. Thus one "graduates from high school."
decimated: I'm thinking that people are confusing decimate with devastate, as in this quote from CNN: "Australia's raging wildfires have decimated massive spans of land."
Decimate actually implies a much sparer kind of destruction. OK, we don't have to limit its use to exact 1 in 10 destruction as its origins specify. To decimate derived from the Roman custom of killing one in ten rebels in the army. But decimate certainly implies a more selective destruction.
I'll bet the rest of you have some pet peeves, too. Let's air them out!