There are two meanings of the word “lets”, with two different ways of writing it. (Okay, three meanings if you count the TV prop potato chip brand “Let’s,” which spoofs the “Lay’s” brand.)
First, you have a verb that means “allows,” e.g. “He lets his son eat too much candy.” This meaning should never have an apostrophe.
Second, you have a contraction of the words “let us,” as in “Let’s all go to the lobby.” This meaning should always have an apostrophe.
You know what’s coming next: examples of bad writers breaking the rules of “lets.” Let’s get this over with.
First up, from an About.com article about what you should leave behind when you pack:
let’s me know
Next, a piece in the Boston Globe on FM radios in smartphones:
let’s you tune
Last, a sign at a doughnut shop called Beyond Glaze in American Fork, Utah:
lets make one
Spotted in the title of a YouTube video posted by the official Olympics channel:
Katie Ledecky Win’s
Seen on an Orrazz.com listicle about Google and privacy:
Google let’s you export
Another one for the Wired Wall of Shame, this time from a Wired Design story about Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app.
let’s you | proper API’s
From a Fox News story about ways I Love Lucy would be different today:
The Ricardo’s lived
On a CBS slideshow about Comic Con memories:
in years’ past
(I think someone got confused about what the phrase means. The years aren’t owning anything here, guys.)
And in a Disney.com story about Modern Family:
(Wow, we’ve got CBS, Fox, and ABC… we just need an NBC show to call out here and we’d be have the big four.)
From a GeoTrust knowledge base article about installing SSL certificates:
other web server’s
And on the web site of an Asian restaurant in American Fork, Utah:
(Note the page title right above is correctly just “Promotions”.)
Here’s a few new-media BA gems that I’ve found on Twitter recently.
First, this unneeded acronym apostrophe from the official Internet Explorer Twitter account.
Next, another Mythbusters “it’s” gaffe.
sets it’s targets on
Finally, from the generally funny “Modern Seinfeld” Twitter account (@SeinfeldToday), a present-tense verb with an extra apostrophe that’s not so amusing.
mugger let’s him keep it
Look guys, I understand that the Internet is a whole new world for writers, but if you’ve only got 140 characters to use on a single post, don’t make one of them a redundant apostrophe.
… like on this head-mounted flashlight package…
7 LED’s Head Lamp
… or on this poster at the KFC in American Fork, Utah…
America’s Only Authentic Sport’s Car
… or on this API documentation page written by programmers at GoNudge.com…
Set’s – Edit’s – Delete’s
… or this article on Cross-Browser.org about rendering in IE5…
Microsoft released it’s then brand new
… or this article on Priceonomics about the future of journalism…
let’s fans choose
… or this Seven Peaks Fun Center page about its attractions…
With it’s antique horses
Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t.
Today’s Bad Non-Apostrophe comes to us courtesy of The Late Show with David Letterman, specifically, the Top Ten Things You Don’t Want to Hear From the Person Sitting Next to Your [sic] On A Plane.
sound like your bouncing
Interestingly, the video that actually aired on The Late Show was correct. So some intern who transcribed the list for the web is probably to blame.
you’re bouncing (correct)
I previously pointed out a badly-placed apostrophe in EA’s The Simpsons: Tapped Out game. Now they’ve updated the whole game with a temporary wintertime theme, and with the update came a new bad non-apostrophe.
Lets use them…
Lisa would never write a sentence like that and leave out the apostrophe in “let’s.”
On Thingiverse’s Help with Barcodes page, they call for a blurring of lines between digital stuff and real-world stuff. Unfortunately, they’re also getting a bit fuzzy with their grammar.
lets blur some lines
In my TV post last week, I highlighted a few sites on which I’d seen a Bad Apostrophe or two, including GeekZenith. But as I was browsing around his site, I saw several more apostrophe problems in GZ’s stories. In fact, from the half-dozen posts that I clicked into, I found BAs in all but one of them. In short, he has a consistent problem with punctuation.
He really covers the gamut of types of Bad Apostrophes, too. From “it’s”…
… it’s much better counter part …
… it’s fifth season…
… to general possession…
… the terrorists unbridled love…
… to present-tense verbs…
… Sony let’s slip that their Amazing Spider-Man…
… flick Oblivion get’s official synopsis…
… to plurals…
Should the studio’s MAKE this happen…
he filmed his scene’s for the movie
… and even names.
… the ones who flagged up Thano’s making an appearance…
I’m sure that if I kept reading this guy’s site, I’d amass quite the collection of BAs — one to rival that of the Wired writers. But I don’t plan to go back, because aside from the apostrophe errors, he also had lots of other grammar problems and I didn’t find his writing particularly insightful.
Eric Farnsworth has sent us another Bad Apostrophe, putting him well ahead of any other submitter when it comes to sheer number of contributions. He’s always asking me, “Is this a BA, or is it correct?” Well this time, it certainly is a BA.
Obama let’s us vote …
I asked him where he found this political cartoon, and he replied, “from an annoying friend who’s about to get unfriended cuz that’s all she posts all day long… Oh wait, you meant originally… No. It was posted on one of those FB pages that’s nothing but funny crap people share.” I haven’t been able to track down an original source. If you know where this came from, please let me know in the comments.