Use the apostrophe for the possessive case of many nouns, contractions, omissions, and some plurals.
- Use 's for the possessive of nouns not ending in s.
man's, child's, lady's, deer's, mother-in-law's
- Use 's for the possessive of singular nouns ending in s.
NOTE: When a singular noun ending in s is followed by a word beginning with s, use only the apostrophe, not 's.
Dickens' stories, the actress' success
- Use ' without s to form the possessive of plural nouns ending in s.
- Use 's to form the possessive of indefinite pronouns.
NOTE: Use no apostrophe with personal pronouns like his, hers, theirs, ours, its (meaning ''of it''). It's means ''it is''.
- Use 's with only the last noun for joint possession in a pair or a series.
the architect's and the builder's plans (Both have plans.)
- Use 's to show omissions or to form contractions.
we'll, don't, can't, it's (meaning ''it is'')
- Use 's to form the plural of numerals, letters, and words being named.
Here is an exercise for you to practise.
Underline the words that contain correctly used apostrophes.
- the people's favourite, a persons's favourite, everybody's favourite
- sheeps's wool, deer's horns, cats' eyes, a cat's eyes
- the Williams' lawn, the Williamses' lawn, all the neighbour's lawns
- the youths' organization, the women's club, the womens' club
- it's food, its food, hers, her's
- wasnt, wasn't, two ms, three n's
- three why's, four hows
- one o'clock, two oclock, three opossums
- Jill and Jack's store (together they own one store); Jill's and Jack's stores (each owns a store)
- our's, ours', its', it's