Apostrophes

For such a small mark apostrophes cause the most confusion and are probably the most misused (or unused) grammatical mark. Following are some simple guidelines on apostrophes and their use in contractions and showing possession.Two pieces of paper on a white background, one says bad the other good.

Contractions – the apostrophe indicates the omission of a word, such as:

It’s = it is

There’s = there is

Wasn’t = was not

You’ll = you will

We’re = we are

Can’t = can not

Possession – shows ownership, i.e.:

Singular common nouns

  • The committee’s policy
  • This week’s spot the error

Plural common nouns

  • The students’ queried
  • The governments’ policies
  • The children’s memories

There are a lot of resources available on the Internet regarding the appropriate use of apostrophes, and grammar in general, to help you with your writing, but remember there is also a lot of misinformation as well, so make sure you get your advice from credible sites.

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