Oh, how I love an apostrophe

grammar in text

When you learn a foreign language, like I have, you tend to learn all sorts of interesting things about grammar.

Words such as the gerund, semicolon, adverb or imperative. Some of these raise their scary head when learning to speak or listen, such as that imperative is used to give orders, but the written language is where all this really steps up a gear.

Prepositions (words such as ‘to’, ‘in’ and ‘on’) and definite articles (the) give me the hives though because I get them wrong more often as I get them right even after almost 20 years in the UK and having started learning English when I was eight.

I used to have a boss who declared that ‘on’ seems to be my favourite preposition since I liked to use it way more often that was necessary. Or grammatically correct.

My excuse is that my mother tongue doesn’t have any of that stuff so getting my head around the difference between ‘in’ and ‘on’ has undoubtedly been a lifetime quest.

To me knowing my grammar is about helping the other people understand what I want to express. Grammar helps with accuracy but is also hopefully helps me be more convincing. A very bad grammar in this blog probably would make you doubt whether you want to read it at all.

And knowing grammar helps me learn other languages, too. Knowing what an imperative means helps me to think of the right form of verb whether it’s English or Spanish.

Apostrophes are my favourites. I love to pop them to their rightful places disregarding whether the text is mine or someone else’s. See, there’s one right there. And there. Lovely.

We don’t have to be alone with our grammar appreciation or fears for that matter though.

Unionlearn has developed a wee online tool to help you dip your toes in basic fun with grammar.

Grammar Matters tests in a light-hearted way some of the basic grammar concepts in English language. All the questions map against the Level 2 which means that they are all questions that 16-year-olds leaving school should master. It might have been a while since your schooldays so it’s time to be brave give the quiz a go. And if need be, maybe to learn more about how apostrophes should behave.

So, give unionlearn’s SkillCheck Grammar Matters quiz a go. It’s not all apostrophes but there are all sorts of other entertaining and interesting grammar nuts to crack and ponder. Maybe this is also your opportunity to challenge your dearest and nearest or even your boss to try out how they score with their grammar?

Profile picture for user Kirsi Kekki

Kirsi Kekki

Kirsi Kekki is a unionlearn policy officer working in the Strategy team. She has worked in a number of trade unions in the UK and Finland with a variety of roles from tutoring to organising and project management.

Kirsi is currently looking after English and maths, adult learning and apprentice policy and support to unions.