Racing to Defeat Apostrophic Humiliation (and Worse!)


There is a chapter in Happiness as a Second Language about the “future uncertain” tense in the language of Happiness.  The gist of it is that the terrible thing that is happening to you right now might just be the best thing that ever happens to you in your life.  Another aspect of this is that the little annoyance that slows you down, or makes you alter your plans, or keeps everything from working smoothly could be to your benefit.  Only rarely do we get to see if that is true, but when we do, it really is fun to look back and think about how peeved we were then, and how grateful we are now.

I had that chance over the weekend.  I decided to promote the book to myLinkedIn groups, so I went about starting a “discussion” in each group, but essentially copying and pasting the same information in each one, specifically that the book was “in the Top 25 in it’s category.”  [If you’ve already spotted the problem here, then you are a rare and discerning person and I’m glad you read my blog.]

Lately, I’ve been voicing a lot of discontent with LinkedIn over some of their recent policy changes, the most annoying of which is that almost all posts in almost all groups have to go through a moderator, which often results in things not getting posted for hours, or sometimes even days.  This is a ridiculous practice in a professional networking environment, and (despite what I’m about to write), I do wish it would change.

But, I am very happy it did not change before this weekend, when I – promoting myself as an author – announced that my book was “in the Top 25 in it’s category.”

It was somewhere around the 11th post when I spotted it.
The wayward apostrophe.
The use of the conjunction for “it is” instead of the appropriate possessive, “its.”

However, given LinkedIn’s exasperating policy of not posting discussions and comments instantly, I had a chance to fix it.  And yet, despite all of these postings being “pending” for who knows how long, the writer of any given missive only has 15 minutes to edit it, whether or not it’s been posted in the group yet.

So I began racing back through my groups, starting with the first one, opening each page, checking my pending submissions, clicking on the discussion that was awaiting moderation and removing the erroneous, offensive apostrophe that would keep at least some segment of the population (a segment that would include my husband, both parents and most of my friends from college, law school and the Writers Guild) from wanting to read anything written by me, or anyone who would use “it’s” in place of “its.”

So, I made it.  Just in time.  Whew!

Of course, it’s three days later and most of those discussions still haven’t posted in my groups, but that’s okay.  They will.  And I can sleep easy knowing that my status as a professional writer can continue, unbesmirched.

For now.

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5 thoughts on “Racing to Defeat Apostrophic Humiliation (and Worse!)

  • Lorem Ipsum

    I’m ashamed to say that last week I sent an email to a fairly prominent UK publisher (thanking him for agreeing to read my novel manuscript), in which I confused the word “aloud” for “allowed”. There doesn’t exist a hole deep enough for me to crawl into so as to hide my humiliation…Needless to say he didn’t reply back and may not at all.

    But as your post says, “the terrible thing that is happening to you right now might just be the best thing that ever happens to you in your life”. And I can only hope that is true. Thanks for writing this piece, it’s given me a glimmer of hope in an otherwise traumatic last few days in my life as a professional writer. Cheers!

    • speakhappiness

      Glad it helped! And for the definition of the word irony…despite having pored over this post repeatedly to make sure it was grammatically correct, I found a misused word this morning. Fixed it already, but for the hundreds of word wizards who get this via email, it’s too late. They know I’m not perfect. Drat!

      • Lorem Ipsum

        Interestingly, the WordPress quote that came up in my sidebar today was this:

        “The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.” — Leo Rosten

        Enough said, really, I’m thinking.

        : )

  • jadereyner

    Glad you managed to get it sorted in time. I don’t know anything about Linked In – I know it’s one of those social networks that I should probably get my head around!