Apostrophes, when and how to use them.

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TIP Sheet Do not use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns that end in s. Possessive pronouns by definition
do not require an apostrophe ...

The apostrophe has four primary uses:possession, omission (contractions),plurals, & phrases of time or measure

1) to form *possessives of nouns
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 sounds,
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, e.g.,
girls' movies. 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, 2's, etc.

4) to indicate phrases of time or measurement:
Examples. 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 weeks' notice
(these forms may imply possession or assign possession by contractive inference.)

Note: Additionally the apostrophe is used to mark the close of quotation

(in computer anguage) An apostrophe is also called single quote.

Topics www.WritingResource.org/ Adventures in Writing Links and references
Apostrophe Apostrophe Apostrophes 334, 409 Apostrophe: Guide to Apostrophes
The Apostrophe Apostrophe Catastrophe Game The Apostrophe Apostrophes Apostrophe Quiz#1, #2 #3
ThesaurusLegend: SynonymsRelated WordsAntonyms
1. apostrophe
- address to an absent or imaginary person
rhetorical device - 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 printed word
punctuation mark, punctuation - the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases
View Larger Cover ImageThe 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 book, 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 the writing 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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Noun: apostropheu'póstrufee
  1. Address to an absent or imaginary person
  2. The mark (') used to indicate the omission of one or more letters from a printed word

See also: apostrophic

Type of: punctuation, punctuation mark, rhetorical device

Encyclopedia: Apostrophe