The poor apostrophe (') might be the most abused punctuation mark in the English language. Looking at street signs, advertisements, shop fronts, posters, flyers etc., will indicate that many people have difficulty with proper usage of the apostrophe, so if you struggle with it yourself, don't worry, you're not alone.
The apostrophe has only two uses:
- to indicate possession
- to indicate the omission of letters or numbers
Here are some examples:
- Words have been combined and letters omitted e.g
- wouldn't for "would not"
- I'm for "I am"
- It's for it is
- Ownership or belonging to
- Add 's for singular (one)
- The student's books - the books belonging to the student.
- Mary's books
- s' for plural (more than one) - "The students' books" - the books belonging to the students.
- If the singular form of the noun ends in s then either form is acceptable
- James' books
- James's book
- If the plural form of the noun doesn't end in s then add 's
- For group/joint possession, add 's to the final member of the group
- Eoin, Eileen and Kevin's assignment
- For compound words, add 's to the last word
Don't use an apostrophe for: