Those Confusing Apostrophes! ‘ • When should I use them? • Do they go before the s or after? ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
One way to use an apostrophe is to show ownership. Marvin’s face looks sick. the desk of Kathleen or Kathleen’s desk the toy of Karen or Karen’s toy the time of an hour or an hour’s time
Usually the apostrophe goes before the s. Notice that the following sentences show how one person or thing has something (singular possessive). Bertha’s mouth is closed. My pencil’s point is broken.
If the owner already ends in s, the apostrophe goes after the s that is already there. This usually happens when more than one person has something (plural possessive). The dogs' bowls - says that the bowls belong to some dogs. The boys' coats - says that the coats belong to some boys. The cars' wheels - says that the wheels belong to some cars.
Watch out for plurals that don't end in s. Words like men and children don't end in s, but they are talking about lots of people. These words use 's to show possession. The men's hats - says that the hats belong to the men. The women's house - says that the house belongs to the women The children’s costumes are a bit weird.
Helpful hint: Before adding the apostrophe or an extra s, decide if the owner is singular (one) or plural (more than one). Next, write the word without placing an apostrophe or adding an extra s. Example of a noun that doesn’t end in s: the coat belonging to the boy = one boy Next, add an apostrophe and then ans. I like thatboy’scoat. Oh my! That guy’s head fell off!
If the noun already ends in an s, just write the word and add the apostropheafter the s that is already there. Example: the faces that belong to the guys = two guys Guys already ends in an s. Those guys’ faces are funny. Notice that faces doesn’t even need an apostrophe.
Those kids’ bus driver is watching the road.Notice kids’ is plural possessive.
For a singular noun ending in s, sometimes place the apostrophe after the -s. Try both ways and choose the one that isn’t awkward to say. Nouns with only one syllable often go ahead and add ’s. the grass’s color This sounds better than the grass’ color Sometimes you have a choice.
PROPER NOUNS A person’s namethat already ends in-s often has the apostrophe after the–s. This is especially true if the person’s name has 2 or more syllables. Mr. Rodgers’ cat Mrs. Cummings’ room James’s car (or) James’ car (either way is fine)
Below is a list of possessive personal pronouns. They show ownership without an apostrophe! Don’t use an apostrophe with them to show ownership. • Your • Mine • His • Their • Our • Its Its bed is comfy!
Another way to use an apostrophe to shorten two words - to make a contraction. A contraction is a word in which one or more letters have been omitted. The apostrophe shows this omission. Contractions are common in speaking and in informal writing. To use an apostrophe to create a contraction, place an apostrophe where the omitted letter(s) would go. Here are some examples:
These are contractions; they don’t show ownership! don't = do not I'm = I am he'll = he will who's = who is shouldn't = should not didn't = did not could've= could have (NOT "could of"!) won’t = will not (doesn’t work like the others) '60 = 1960 he’s = he is or he has
Use an apostrophe to make individual letters or numbersplural. We have four A’s on the test. You will often see the s written as a lowercase letter with no apostrophe. There are two G4s currently used in our computer labs.
For exercises on using the apostrophe click here and here. Click here to play a game using apostrophes Click here to take a quiz Click here to see how some people have incorrectly used the apostrophe. Be an apostrophe detective, looking for incorrectly used apostrophes in everyday life. .