Call me pedantic, call me anal, tell me you don't care: I don't care.
This is English, for better or worse, the language that we speak. The nation's children are growing more and more illiterate by the year ('chillax, mother', anyone?) and primary school education seems to have failed us all.
Look, there's an epidemic of apostrophe abuse!
My own grammar and grammatical knowledge isn't great (and is growing worse after a year of reading teenagers' mistakes daily), especially for one who teaches English and has taught EFL for too many years, but I'm still a firm believer in the basics. Just the basics.
So abuse me all you want, tell me I'm tearing the blog apart, but I think I'm doing an educational service to bloggers and blog-readers everywhere.
We use an apostrophe to show we have omitted letters in a contraction:
Can't, won't, she'll, I'll, we're, haven't, etc. and above all, teenagers: could've comes from could have and is not could of. Please not that your is the possessive of you and you're is a contraction of you are.
We use apostrophes to denote the possessive: Jo's fussiness, a blogger's worst nightmare.
It confuses people when we get into plurals: The bloggers' worst nightmare, seven dogs' dinners. - you put an apostrophe-s after the 's' - but we leave off the 's' to stop it looking silly (dogs's).
In English, we make plurals by adding an 's' to a noun - this does not take an apostrophe - one dog, two dogs.
We also make a verb third person by adding an 's' or 'es': I see, he sees/I go he goes - this doesn't take one either, no matter how right it seems to look - there is no such word as see's unless you're referring to this sort of see and something that belongs to it: see –noun Ecclesiastical. The seat, center of authority, office, or jurisdiction of a bishop.
If you're still unsure about what to do with Joneses or any of the above, here's a clear explanation.
And my last word to my students is: when in doubt, leave them out - don't throw them in willy-nilly every time you see an 's'. And don't put them in really ambiguously and faintly, so it could be an apostrophe or just a teeny dash! You're fooling no one!
I'm well aware that reading my hastily lashed out typo ridden waffle may grate on your smooth reading as much as the apostrophe problem bothers me, so feel free to buy me Typershark for Christmas and I promise to practise!