4

I’m pretty sure I have this right; here's my sentence:

There were a few random music friends from decades’ past there to see her, and she couldn’t be any prouder.

Do I have the apostrophe right?

  • 1
    Did you write the sentence? – user140086 Jan 2 '16 at 5:02
  • It seems obvious from the question that he wrote it ans, no, there is no apostrophe required, as the OP is indicating plurality and not possessiveness. – Mawg Jan 2 '16 at 8:44
  • As a UK native speaker, the phrase "music friends" grates on my ear. If they play music, then you can use "musical friends". If they are fans of the same genre, I am unsure how to phrase it elegantly. Another question, perhaps? (hmmm, "there were a few random friends, united by their love of music, there...."? That still suonds clumsy) – Mawg Jan 2 '16 at 8:57
6

Do I have the apostrophe right?

No. There is no apostrophe.

There were a few random music friends from decades past there to see her, and she couldn't be any prouder.

Past here basically means "in the past."

6

No.

It would be if "decades" were a person called Decades, and the few random friends were from his past:

... friends from Decades' past ...

However, "past" here is an adjective modifying the word "decades." So, no apostrophe.

2

As others have pointed out, an apostrophe can indicate a missing letter ("Able was I, e'er I saw Elba"), or possessiveness ("The apostrophe's proper usage"), but never plurality, although this is a very common mistake.

I would also like to point out that "There were" is past and "she couldn't be" is present.

Personally, I would match the tenses and write

There were a few random music friends from decades' past there to see her, and she couldn't have been any prouder

  • 1
    Except that it's "Able was I ere I saw Elba" ("ere" meaning before; the whole being written backwards). – Brian Chandler Jan 2 '16 at 9:56
  • Aagrgh!! You're correct, of course (+1)dictionary.reference.com/browse/ere Quick! Cover my panic. Find me an example of an apostrophe indicating a missing letter when not in penultimate position ... – Mawg Jan 2 '16 at 11:12
  • 1
    You'd've been OK with this, wouldn't you? Although you can't say it mustn't be in penultimate position. (You also have "progressiveness" as a typo for "possessiveness", I think.) – Brian Chandler Jan 2 '16 at 11:51
  • Well done, you ne'er do well ;-) – Mawg Jan 2 '16 at 13:38
  • 1
    Indeed, I had the present perfect there but stated it wrong. That will teach me for blogging after dark. And I agree that it's still awkward ... – Stu W Jan 2 '16 at 13:54

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