18 March 2014

The Apostrophe

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

men's, children's 

  • Use 's for the possessive of singular nouns ending in s.
Watts's, Charles's, Dickens's, actress's, waitress'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. 
the Joneses' car, waitresses' tips, the Dickenses' home

  • Use 's to form the possessive of indefinite pronouns.
anybody's, everyone's, somebody else's, neither's 

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 and the builder's plan (The two jointly have one plan.)
the architect's and the builder's plans (Both have plans.)

  • Use 's to show omissions or to form contractions.
the roaring '20s, o'clock, jack-o'-lantern
we'll, don't, can't, it's (meaning ''it is'')

  • Use 's to form the plural of numerals, letters, and words being named.
three 7's (but three sevens), four a's, six the's

Here is an exercise for you to practise.

Underline the words that contain correctly used apostrophes.

  1. the people's favourite, a persons's favourite, everybody's favourite
  2. sheeps's wool, deer's horns, cats' eyes, a cat's eyes
  3. the Williams' lawn, the Williamses' lawn, all the neighbour's lawns
  4. the youths' organization, the women's club, the womens' club
  5. it's food, its food, hers, her's
  6. wasnt, wasn't, two ms, three n's
  7. three why's, four hows
  8. one o'clock, two oclock, three opossums
  9. Jill and Jack's store (together they own one store); Jill's and Jack's stores (each owns a store)
  10. our's, ours', its', it's

Photo source: 

No comments:

Post a Comment