Column: Good grammar: The life of the party
Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt
Grammar: it’s everywhere. And, as soon as someone identifies himself as an expert, you can almost always safely assume he’s going to judge you anytime you end a sentence with a preposition.
I’m no grammar czar; I’m only here to help improve your grammar and make your life more awesome.
Good grammar is wonderful because it opens doors—to job interviews, romantic relationships, and even elegant parties where people drink wine from bottles (I always thought it only came in boxes). By improving your grammar, your Facebook friends will rightly assume you’ve started wearing a gold-rimmed monocle while playing polo on your yacht. Fancy!
Let’s begin with your family—yeah, we’re going there. Specifically, when you want to sign your family’s collective name on a holiday card or get it laser etched on a fake rock for your front lawn. How do you write it? Is it The Millers or The Miller’s?
Everyone likes a good party (after all, that’s why you’re improving your grammar, right?), and apostrophes are like sentence confetti, adding a fun flair to your scintillating syntax. But a misplaced apostrophe is like confetti at a funeral—inappropriate and impossible to undo.
To make your last name plural, never add an apostrophe. Just don’t do it. The Millers went to the concert is correct. Adding an apostrophe to your last name makes it possessive: Did you see The Millers’ cool new van?
If your last name ends with s, z, x, ch or sh, simply add es to make it plural: Season’s Greetings from The Foxes. If your last name ends in any other letter (including y), simply add an s: The Honeycutts are incredibly photogenic.
So, if you’re considering adding your family’s name on the back of your luxury yacht, write The Millers. Adding an apostrophe will simply get you uninvited from those swanky boat parties, leaving you to drink your boxed wine alone while you sadly stalk everyone else’s happy boat photos on Facebook.
Curtis Honeycutt moonlights as a creative comedy writer. He writes commercials and advertising copy for Indy-area marketing agencies as well as interesting and exceptional business clients (which currently include a hot sauce website, a New Jersey pretzel shop, and a successful Silicon Valley auction website). He collects vinyl records and enjoys a really good chai latte. Originally hailing from Oklahoma, he lives in downtown Noblesville with his wife (Carrie) and two kids (Miles and Maeve). Have a grammar question? Connect with him online on Twitter @curtishoneycutt or at curtishoneycutt.com.