Most people know how to form the possessive singular of certain nouns. Just add 's. William's, Jesse's, the king's. But what happens when the noun already ends in s? This is surprisingly easy: just add 's. Charles's, the boss's, Mr. Evans's. If the noun is plural and ends in s, add only the apostrophe. The boys', the paraders'. This should be clear, yet people mistake the first of these rules, writing Charles' instead of Charles's. It's as if the extra s is somehow hideous to the ear. We already have one in there, it doesn't kill anyone to add a second.
Now that we have the rules out of the way, let's cover some exceptions. Ancient Greek names, such as Hippocrates, Socrates, and Euripides, use only the apostrophe. While it was Charles's book, it was Socrates' pen that wrote it. The biblical Jesus and Moses are also exceptions, though I have heard it suggested that, instead of writing Moses' laws, it would be better to write the laws of Moses. A stylistic preference, not a law.
Simple, right? Add 's to make a singular noun plural.
Zeugma (zoog-ma) is one of my favorite figures of speech. The word comes from ancient Greek meaning "walking together." What zeugma commonly does is use one verb to create two different actions in a single phrase or sentence. Eggs and oaths are soon broken. In this English proverb, the speaker implies that two things will be broken, though these two are technically unrelated: the egg will literally break while the oath can only be figuratively broken, thus creating zeugma, or syllepsis.
There are different kinds of zeugma, some more subtle than others, but the basis is having one word govern two or more parts of a sentence. It's obvious when those two parts are explicitly unrelated, but that is not a requirement. Another example heralds from Benjamin Franklin: We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. He uses the word hang to imply both sticking together as a team and to be hung by a noose, individually.
Writing dashes and hyphens is something I've seen often done incorrectly in fiction and essay writing of my peers. In fact, I didn't know how to handle dashes correctly until I somehow ended up on a Wikipedia page about en verses em dashes (and I thought I was pretty weird for knowing that kind of thing). All right, let's start.
There are three dash markings. One is the hyphen, and it is the shortest. The hyphen creates compound words. The tilt-shift lens is too expensive for a low-budget shoot. Both dashes you saw there were hyphens, which, on any computer platform, is the minus sign located beside the plus sign (or wherever your keyboard layout places it).
The en dash is longer, and, before you ask, is named due to its length being the same as an uppercase N. At least, that's what it should be. The en dash is the rarest of the three, but you'll see it in sports scores: The Red Sox beat the Yankees 3–2. Note the difference: 3-2, 3–2. Not a big one, but it's a slight technicality. If you mess this up, nobody will kill you, though the New Yorker might fine you. On the Mac, you can achieve this dash with option+- (minus key). On Windows hold Alt while typing 0150.
I figured it might be good to write occasionally about figures of speech, rhetoric, and literary devices (and call them all figures of speech for simplicity). The first, which I learned in Latin class, is chiasmus. While it sounds like some Greek beast, it's quite tame. In short, it is an ABBA structure (not like the band). We have the A idea, which encapsulates the B idea. Let's take the following example: Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. Famous quote with a chiastic structure. Notice that your country surrounds the you in the sentence, forming this enwrapped feeling that your country is around you. If that's still confusing, let me outline it for you: Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
Chiastic structure, in general, is used to define chiasmus over a larger body of work (paragraphs, chapters, an entire story), but the idea remains as above, with an idea or statement or something 'wrapped' within another idea. Bring justice to terrorists and terrorists to justice. Again, as George Bush's speechwriters wrote, we have justice surrounding and suffocating the terrorists in the sentence. The listeners start with justice and end with justice, and the terrorists are stuck in the middle. What could be better?