An apostrophe is a punctuation mark that has been used for centuries to indicate possession, missing letters, and contractions.
When it comes to grammar, apostrophes have a reputation for being one of the trickiest punctuation marks to master. While it’s true that apostrophes can be tricky, they’re not impossible to use correctly. To help you out, here’s a guide on how to use apostrophes correctly in your writing.
1. To indicate possession: Apostrophes are used to indicate possession or ownership. To use apostrophes correctly in these situations, it’s important to remember that the apostrophe comes before the “s” (except in unusual cases like the possessive pronouns its and yours). For example, the correct way to write “the cat’s tail” is with an apostrophe before the “s”.
2. To indicate missing letters: In addition to indicating possession, apostrophes can also be used to indicate missing letters in a word or phrase. This is known as a contraction. For example, the phrase “do not” becomes “don’t” when written with an apostrophe. Similarly, the phrase “cannot” becomes “can’t” when written with an apostrophe.
3. To indicate a plural possessive noun: When a plural noun is being used to indicate possession, an apostrophe and an “s” should be added to the end of the noun. For example, “The students’ desks were all cleared off.”
4. NOT To indicate a plural form: It’s also important to note that apostrophes are NOT used to make a noun plural. For example, the correct way to write “cats” is without an apostrophe. Similarly, the correct way to write “apples” is without an apostrophe. 5. Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives: Apostrophes are NOT used with possessive pronouns, such as “his”, “hers”, or “its”. For example: “The cat licked its paw”. Possessive adjectives, such as “my”, “your”, and “our”, do NOT use apostrophes in standard English usage. For example: “My book” or “Our house”.
By following these simple rules, you can use apostrophes correctly in your writing to add clarity and precision to your writing. Remember, apostrophes are used to indicate possession or ownership, contractions, and a possessive relationship between two nouns. They are not used to make nouns plural. With a little practice, you’ll be able to use apostrophes correctly in no time.