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Recently whilst writing a report I typed the following sentence:

"Funerals still represent a celebration of the life of the deceased, but these days families and friends often use the time to celebrate life using popular music, film and media."

The spell check immediately underlined the word 'days' and claimed it needed an apostrophe after the 's', creating days'.
I always assumed the term 'these days' referred to 'recent times' or what is commonplace at present. It seems the spell check takes it as the 'families and friends' that belong to the days being discussed. Which is correct?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"These days" just means presently, at the present time, now, etc. It is used as a contrast to a discussion of things in the past.

Your passage about funerals starts out talking about the traditional of funerals, and contrasts what they have been ("a celebration of the life of the deceased") vs. what they are now ("these days families and friends often use the time to celebrate life using popular music, film and media").

Another example showing the then/now contrast:

When I was young we used to walk to school, ten miles in the snow, uphill both ways. These days kids get to ride in warm, comfortable buses.

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There really is no right and wrong, they just mean different things

"These days family and friends" could mean two things:

The family and friends of these days, or presently, the family and friends...

In order to clarify what you mean, you could use:

These days, family and friends/ In these days, family and friends.

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