Nerd Candy: The Multi-Purpose Apostrophe

So, I’m editing this book (when am I not?) and came to this little weirdness:

“Aside from some hurt feelin’s, yeah, I think he’s ok.”

And what’s the problem? Well, that’s a Multi-Purpose Apostrophe, that’s what that is! As we all know — well, as WE all know, we, the few, the proud, the nerdy — an apostrophe + s = posessive.

(Except for “it’s”. Which is backwards. I’ll have to do an article on the history of “it’s/its” because how much fun is that? So much fun.)

And in this case, certainly the feelings are not possessive — if anything, the character under discussion is possessed of them.  So, as the “Clean It Up” editor, do I remove the apostrophe?

Well, hold on there. Say I do. What have I got then? I’ve got “feelins”, that’s what. And that’s ridiculous. I have to account for the missing “g” in some way, right? Of course right.

In cases like this, my motto has always been: “When in doubt, recast.” But even if I reorganize the sentence, I’ve still got the same problem.

What would YOU do? (And, no, wise acre, “Get a life!” is not an acceptable answer.)



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