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Use of Apostrophe


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Apostrophe


In contrast to other marks of punctuations, which divide words from one another, the apostrophe (') is used within a word to show the omission of one or more letters, to show possession, or (in some cases) to indicate a plural.

Use an Apostrophe To:

Denote the Omission of One or More Letters, Figures, or Numerals


Apostrophes are used to form contractions

EXAMPLES:

Should not -- shouldn't, would not -- wouldn't, will not -- won't, is not -- isn't

Indicate the Omission of Letters in Quoted Dialogue

EXAMPLES:
'tis a fine day
goin' fishing

To form the possessive of most singular and plural nouns and indefinite pronouns not ending in s, add an apostrophe and s.


EXAMPLES:
When he would arrive at Mary's house was anybody's guess.
He was amazed to find that the women's shoes cost fifty dollars, but the children's shoes cost even more.

To form the possessive of singular nouns (both common and proper) ending in s or the sound of s, add an apostrophe and s unless the addition of the s would sound or look awkward.


EXAMPLES:
With the "s" Added:
the bus's light
the class's average
Kansas's schools
Texas's governor
Socrates' concepts
for goodness' sake


To form the possessive of plural nouns (both common and proper) ending in s or the sound of s, add only an apostrophe.


EXAMPLES:
farmers' problems
students' views
two weeks' vacation
judges' opinions
three months' delay

To form the possessive of plural nouns (both common and proper) not ending in s, add an apostrophe and s.


EXAMPLES:
men's clothing
children's toys
women's hats
people's observations

To form the possessive of compound words or two or more proper names, add an apostrophe and s to the last word of the compound.


EXAMPLES:
anyone else's property
brother-in-law's job
one another's books
editor-in-chief's pen
Japan and Germany's agreement
Lewis and Clark's expedition
the University of South Carolina's mascot

Form the Plurals of Numbers, Symbols, Letters, and Words Used to Name Themselves (Add an Apostrophe and an "s")

EXAMPLES:
Dot the i's and cross the t's
33 r.p.m.'s
figure 8's
+'s and –'s
GI's
V.I.P.'s
PX's
the 1890's (or 1890s)


Sample Usage

Brother-in-law's job
Lewis and Clark's expedition
Women's hats
V.I.P.'s
Students' views
Kansas' schools
The bus' light
Goin' fishing


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