Thursday, March 5, 2015

3 Reasons to Use an Apostrophe


There are three reasons to use an apostrophe:

Knowing when and how to use apostrophes can be really confusing at times. The key to using them correctly is to know when they are needed and for what purpose they are to be used.

There are three reasons to use an apostrophe:
  1.  Use an apostrophe to show that a letter or letters have been left out of a word or that numbers have been left out. For example: “can’t” and ’80. Be sure to place the apostrophe in the exact location of the missing letters or numbers. (can’t = can not) (‘80=1980)
  2. Use an apostrophe to show ownership or possession of nouns and indefinite pronouns. (Cathy’s car.) (someone’s fault)
The rules to form possessive nouns are simple.
First determine if the word you are making possessive in form is singular or plural.

If the word is singular, add an apostrophe and then an s. (cat’s meow)
In words of more than one syllable that end in an s-sound, you are permitted to add only the apostrophe to avoid too many s-sounds. (Moses’ tablets)

If the word is plural, you must first check the spelling of the word before making it possessive.
If the word ends in an s, just add the apostrophe. Flowers= flowers’ fragrance

If the word does not end in an s, you would add an apostrophe and then an s. men=men’s wardrobe

Never add an s and then an apostrophe. (s’)
(Doing so would make the word both plural and possessive.)

      3. Use an apostrophe to make individual letters and numbers plural. For example: There are four             s’s and four i’s in Mississippi.

Do not use an apostrophe to make a word plural. For example: one boy= three boys

~ ~ ~

Sometimes you need to make a word plural first and then make it possessive. For example: A family named Wilson is having a party. Because there are several members of the family, you would make the name plural and then possessive. On the invitation it should read: You are invited to the Wilsons’ Christmas party.

However, the Wilson family would sign their Christmas cards: The Wilsons. (Note: There is no apostrophe because “Wilsons” is a plural noun but not a possessive noun.)

Indefinite pronouns refer to something that is not specified. To make an indefinite pronoun possessive, you would add an apostrophe and an s.

anybody= anybody’s 
anyone= anyone’s

Click here for a handout lesson on 3 Reasons to Use Apostrophes and a practice exercise with answers included.

Thanks for reading!