Apostrophes, when and how to use them.
|The apostrophe has four primary
uses:possession, omission (contractions),plurals,
& phrases of time or measure
1) to form
The possessive of singular nouns ending in s, including nouns
ending in s, x, z, ch, or sh, is formed by
adding 's, e.g., priestess's personal bath.
However, if the next word begins with s, then add only an
apostrophe, e.g., priestess' story.
The possessive of singular nouns not ending in s is formed by
adding 's, e.g., VIP's seat, baby's food. The
apostrophe follows the s of a word with two sibilant
e.g., Texas', Moses'.
The apostrophe is added for the possessive of a
noun that is plural in form but singular in meaning, e.g.,
mathematics' formulas. The apostrophe follows
the s for the possessive of plural nouns that end in s,
No apostrophe is used for personal pronouns, such as: hers,
his, its, mine, ours,
theirs, whose, your, yours. Indefinite pronouns require
an apostrophe, e.g., one's lover.
For other pronouns like another and others, follow the
rule for singular and plural, e.g., another's and others.
For the possessive of a plural noun that does not end
in s, add 's, e.g., women's rights.
For singular proper nouns, add only an apostrophe
for the possessive, e.g., Achilles' heel.
For joint possession, the 's is added to the
word nearest the object of possession, e.g., Dick and Jane's
book. The apostrophe is not used in names of
organizations unless actually part of the legal name.
2) to show the omission of letters (omission
means "leaving out")
The apostrophe is used when leaving out a letter or number in
a contraction, e.g., can't, wouldn't.
The apostrophe is used for omitted letters, e.g., rock
'n' roll, and for omitted numbers, such as the
class of '72, the '20s.
3) to indicate
plurals of letter abbreviations with periods and single
letters, e.g., p's and q's; two A's and
four B's. (Note: Plurals of multi-letter
combinations and plurals of numerals end in s with no apostrophe,
e.g., VIPs, 1000s.) and also plural1's,
of time or measurement:
eight o'clock, break o'dawn, my money's worth,
one dollar's worth, two dollars' worth,
a hard day's
night, two years' experience, an evening's entertainment, and two
forms may imply possession or assign possession by
Note: Additionally the apostrophe is used to mark the close of
(in computer anguage) An apostrophe is also called single quote.
||Adventures in Writing
||Links and references
Guide to Apostrophes
Apostrophe Catastrophe Game
ThesaurusLegend: SynonymsRelated WordsAntonyms
1. apostrophe - address to an absent or
- a use of language that
creates a literary effect (but often without regard
for literal significance)
2. apostrophe - the mark (') used to
indicate the omission of one or more letters from a
- the marks used to clarify meaning
by indicating separation of words into sentences and
clauses and phrases
books at the left are recommended resources for those who want
to write effectively. They can supplement any secondary, college, or
graduate-level writing project. If you would like to obtain either
click at left. The Writers Harbrace Handbook is a basic guide and
rulebook for writers. It has particularly useful resources on
rhetoric. Adventures in writing is designed as a practical guide for
process. The book is designed for anyone who wants to improve their
writing, including students from non-English based learning environments.
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