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Rules of Using Apostrophes

If you want to know how to properly use apostrophes, this article is just for you. Read on and get to know the basic rules of apostrophe usage.

It has been proven that apostrophe in the English language belongs to punctuation marks that are most frequently misused or used in wrong contexts. Just glance at the banners on the streets, different advertisements on TV, in stores or on the streets – the mistakes are everywhere. When you look at some marquees on the streets, it might seem to you that no one really cared about learning the rules of proper punctuation, particularly of using apostrophe mark. ‘’

The only thing that you should remember is that the apostrophe has only two main realms of usage:

  1. To indicate possession of a thing to a particular person;
  2. To pinpoint to the omission of a letter or a number.

To help you understand the rules in a clearer and more comprehensible manner, let us provide you with the following examples and rules.

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  • If the noun does not have an ending -s, you should normally add –’s.

For example:

The car’s trunk was damaged in a crash.

My friend’s father works as an accountant.

  • If the noun has an ending -s in its singular form, then you add ’s as well.

For example:

The class’s academic achievements were surprisingly shocking.

My boss’s wife seems to be flirting with me.

  • If the noun ends in –s in its plural form, you add only an apostrophe at the end.

For example:

My sisters’ shoes were scattered all over the floor in the hall.

The tables’ legs were damaged in transportation.

  • If the noun in its plural form does not end in –s, you normally add ’s.

For example:

The geese’s clear formation up in the sky impressed the passers-by.

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Our children’s performance was truly impressing.

  1. For many people, some specific words or constructions are awkward to pronounce with the apostrophe (for example, “geese’s”). As such, the writer has a choice of paraphrasing the sentence to avoid this weirdness with the help of possessive case including “of-“ phrase: The clear formation of geese up in the sky impressed the passers-by.
  2. If there are two or more denominations of a noun referring to people who own something, then use the apostrophe only after the last noun.

For example:

My brother and sister’s bike was stolen.

It means that my brother and sister have one bike for two and one bike belongs to both of them.

  • If each of the nouns listed possessed a thing individually, then you should put an apostrophe after each of nouns.

For example:

My father’s and friend’s bikes were stolen near the shop.

In this example, both people became victims of stealing.

  • If a compound noun possesses something, then apostrophe is added to the last element of the word.

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For example:

My brother-in-law’s passion for cars is overwhelming.

  • You also add -’s to an indefinite pronoun owning something.

For example:

Someone’s head was visible near the window.

rer and more comprehensible manner, let us provide you with the following examples and rules.

Common Rules on Apostrophe Usage

Possessive common nouns or pronouns can own other nouns or pronouns. To demonstrate the relation between them (i.e. the possession of a thing/ person by another person or thing), we use the apostrophe:

So, as you see, the rules of apostrophe are not many and they are rather simple. Good luck!


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