Great visionaries are often unappreciated in their own lifetimes, and indeed, in their own households. I’m sure Anne Hathaway used to snort disparagingly when Shakespeare read some of his best bits out loud, and Mrs Beethoven probably muttered under her breath, “You’d have to be bloody deaf to think that racket’s any good. What dear? I was just wondering if you wanted sauerkraut with your dinner.”
Indeed, this is the case with my not-quite-burgeoning career as an urban music artist. It seems I’m alone in thinking I have any talents as a rapper. My husband and son are so convinced that I am not the next Fiddy Cent, that they’re afraid to say the word “rap” in case it sets me off. Presents are “encased” in our house.
I can see why they might have an issue. As a forty-something mum, living in the suburbs, I don’t fit the usual demographic. And to be honest, our neighbourhood is less gritty than mulchy, and I am more H&M than Eminem.
Still, I think a record should be kept of my unique street poetry style. So here, for your edification, is a short masterpiece known as the Apostrophe Rap. As I have not yet been blessed with a recording contract, please simulate the 8-Mile style performance environment for yourself. Put on a banging backing track, or get a friend to beatbox. Alternatively, get a small child to bang on a saucepan with a spatula. It will give the most authentic effect.
All together now:
Now listen up homies, I want you to agree
That there’s nothing more important than the old apostrophe.
It’s not hard to use and I’m gonna tell you once…
And if you do not get it, then you gotta be a dunce
Those pizza’s and those CD’s just really drive me nuts
So it’s time to learn the rules, and I’ll hear no ifs or buts.
An apostrophe is used to denote that there’s contraction,
If you’re leaving out a letter then that comma does its action.
So don’t, or won’t or can’t all need one, (though if you’re a bore,
you might just choose to leave them out like that George Bernard Shaw).
But pizza’s, CD’s, video’s aren’t missing any letter.
So leave the punctuation out and everything’s much better.
So we’ve shown that you don’t use one just because there is a plural,
And now it’s time for you to use your functions neural.
It’s possession where most people tie themselves into a knot.
Can I explain it simply? Well I’ll give it my best shot.
Before the s or after? How are you supposed to know?
So ease the beat right down and I’m going to take it slow.
You always put it after you have written the whole word.
And for my main example I will use the noun of bird.
If one bird has his wings to flap, the apostophe’s before
If two birds each have wings, then it’s after, that’s for sure.
Bird’s wings is used for one bird, that fact is really true,
But if you write birds’ wings then it is clear that you mean two.
And so I come to the end of my extended rap
And if I may I’ll ask you all to give a modest clap.
I haven’t covered its and it’s, I must apologise.
But in that case contraction wins, the apostrophe’s the prize.
And if you made it this far then I say congratulations.
Sorry it was crap, here are my commiserations.
One monkey, one typewriter, seldom Hamlet.