My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. – Winnie the Pooh

  • The standard date format in Australian and UK English is Day Date Month, e.g. 30 October 2010 (not 30th); unless the document is a standard tender form that has ‘Signed this [30th] day of [month, year]’.
  • Use names of months rather than numbers, as it confuses between American and British English. Local styling should be adopted.
  • Pairs of dates are shortened using an en dash to the shortest pronounceable form: 1998-9 but 2010-12, 1998-2002
  • The solidus (forward slash) distinguishes between a financial year, 2003/4, and a span of calendar years, 2003–4 (en rule).
  • Years are expressed in figures, but avoid starting a sentence with a figure.
  • Use s without an apostrophe to indicate decades or centuries: 1990s 1900s.
  • Decades may be spelt out, in lowercase: the seventies.
  • If the decade is identified by its century, it’s usual practice to use: the 1970s.


I wonder if CTM in Brookvale, Sydney Australia, still has NO PICK UP’S ON SATURDAY’S.

Misuse of the apostrophe is common and give a negative impression of an author’s writing skills…

(from - Richard writes: Here's some real exclusivity! A bookstore in Mt. Eden, Auckland, New Zealand is holding a festival for one writer and one reader. I wonder who the lucky pair were.

Here are some rules that are not difficult to remember.

Expressions of Time

It was previously conventional to use an apostrophe in expressions of time involving a plural reference, such as:

  • Six weeks’ time
  • Three months’ wages

The apostrophe is now often left out, i.e.:

  • Six weeks time
  • Three months wages

The sense of these phrases tends to be more descriptive than possessive.

When the time reference is in the singular, however, the apostrophe should be retained to help mark the noun as singular:

A day’s journey, the year’s cycle

– Source: Style Manual, 6th edition.

It’s vs. its

It’s not correct to leave the apostrophe out if it’s a matter of ‘it is’.

It’s the cat’s habit to chase its tale (this is a cat with character). It is: it’s. The nose belongs to it: its nose.

1.         It’s = It is

2.         Its = belonging to it

Numbers and dates

  • Numbers and dates, such as in his 60s, fly 767s, during the 1980s—All the regional style manuals including the Chicago Manual (2003) agree on this [no apostrophe]. Apostrophes are usually there in the plural of single numbers, as in All the 2’s and 3’s were missing.
  • If there are two or more owners, add ‘s’ then an apostrophe.


Acknowledgement of others’ views… (Plural ‘others’—the views belonging to others)

The candidates’ views were not considered. (Plural of candidate)

  • If there’s one owner, add an apostrophe and then ‘s’.

… initiatives or strategic ways in which the successful candidate’s learning could be leveraged.

  • The exception to this rule is:

For words which form their plural by changing internal letters (instead of adding ‘s’), the apostrophe comes before the ‘s’.

It was the children’s turn to wash up.

Some other words which follow this rule are: men, women, people.

Joint ownership or association is shown by placing the apostrophe -s on the second of the two owners;

  • His mother and father’s legacy
  • Rutherford and Bohr’s atom

In contrast, where the ownership is not joint, each name takes and apostrophe;

His mother’s and father’s voices

Sibelius’s and Grieg’s works


[Content of this post © Ascension Editing 2010]