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Apostrophes

The .pdf version of this page may be more helpful.

signal omissions in common phrases:

rock and roll rock ‘n’ roll

class of 2005 class of ‘05

Contractions

It is, it has – it’s I would, I had – I’d Will not – won’t
Was not – wasn’t He would, he had – he’d  Let us – let’s
Could not – couldn’t Would not – wouldn’t  I am – I’m
He is, he has – he’s  Do not – don’t  Cannot – can’t
You will – you’ll Does not – doesn’t Who is, who has – who’s

Possessives

Singular nouns: The girl’s book was overdue.

Plural nouns:

  • not ending in –s: The men’s hats blew off.
  • ending in –s: The birds’ feathers were red

 

Compound nouns: My mother-in-law’s dog is well behaved.

Two or more nouns:

- individual possession: I liked both Kate’s and Margaret’s paintings. 

- joint possession: Have you seen John and Kari’s new car?

Plurals

Numbers, letters, symbols, and words referred to as term

  • The gymnasts need marks of 8’s and 9’s to qualify for the finals.
  • My computer will not print m’s because my keyboard is broken.

Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of years:

  • I like the style of clothing from the 1980s.
  • My brother is studying the ‘20s in his history class.

 

It’s vs. Its

It’s is a contraction for it is/has.

It’s a beautiful day!

Its is the possessive form of it.

  The dog has its bone.