3 Apostrophes Uses Showing possession Indicating omissions Singular, plural, and jointIndicating omissionsForming some plurals
4 Showing Singular Possession Add ’s to make most single nouns possessiveA day’s pay Les’s presentationHarry’s vomit Bridget Jones’s DiaryException: Add only ’ to words that already end in s if pronunciation would be difficult with ’s (words with three or more syllables)Socrates’ philosophyMassachusetts’ laws
5 Showing Plural Possession Add only ’ to show possession for plural nouns ending in sthe instructors’ meagre salaries17 students’ marksThree weeks’ payAdd ’s for words that don’t use s to form pluralsThe children’s boots are wet.We have two men’s rooms in the building.
6 Showing Joint Possession Joint possession indicates that two or more people share something.The apostrophe should be added to the last item in the series.Bob and Carol’s bedException: Add the apostrophe to both items to show individual possession, meaning separate ownership.Ted’s and Alice’s underwear
7 Rules for Compound Nouns Show possession by adding ’s at the end of the word.The governor-general’s carMy brother-in-law’s boatBut: To form the plurals of hyphenated nouns, add s only to the first word.Governors-general from four countriesBrothers-in-law and their wives
8 Forming Contractions Don’t = Do not Won’t = will not Can’t = cannot Apostrophes are used to show where letters or numbers have been left out.Contractions are NOT to be used when writing essays or business letters.Don’t = Do notWon’t = will notCan’t = cannotThe flood of ’97Should’ve = Should haveit’s = It is (or It has)(not “should of”)(Memorize this rule.)Contractions are frequently used in speaking and informal writing.
9 Forming Plurals Add ’s to form the plurals of lower case letters. There are four s’s in Mississippi.The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes.Know your ABCs.I have one hundred DVDs.There are two 5s in my phone number.To make a decade plural, no apostrophe is needed.1920s2010s
10 Using Pronouns to Show Possession Personal pronouns do not use apostrophes to show possession.We refer to his boat, not he’s boatNone of these pronouns uses an apostrophe:His, hers, ours, yours, theirs, whose, itsNote:It’s = it is or it hasIt’s a nice day or It’s been funA chicken lays eggs in its nest.Indefinite pronouns use ’s to show possession in the same way as nouns.Someone’s car each other’s workAnybody’s guess no-one’s fault
11 Trouble Spots Don’t use apostrophes to form the plurals of names. Come to a party with the Jackson’sHave a visit with the OsbournesOn a related note, don’t change y to ies when forming plurals of names ending in y.Pictures of the KennediesGossip about the Kennedy’sScandals involving the Kennedys
12 More Trouble Spots Don’t use apostrophes to make nouns plural. Customer’s will be served on the terrace.Customers will be served in the bar.Remember that it’s means it is.Every dog has it’s day.Every dog has its day.It’s about time this presentation ended.