Punctuation and the Apostrophe Help
How to Use an Apostrophe
Use an apostrophe to show the omission of a letter. In the following three examples, the o's are omitted.
- You weren't (were not) expected until noon.
- My other friend isn't (is not) coming.
- There aren't (are not) enough days in a New England summer.
NOTE: Ain't is not a word and is never acceptable in written or spoken English.
Use an apostrophe to show possession. Apostrophes are placed differently according to whether the word is singular or plural as well as the way a particular word forms its plural.
Singular: The printer's door is jammed. (Singular printer: Place the apostrophe before the s.)
Plural: The three executives' offices face the parking lot. (Plural executives: Place the apostrophe after the s.)
Singular: That deer's temperament is so tame it eats from my hand. (Singular deer: Place the apostrophe before the s.)
Plural: The two adult deer's eating habits don't change with the seasons. (Plural deer: The word deer is spelled the same whether singular or plural; therefore, the apostrophe is placed the same.)
Singular: A man's car was found at the scene of the crime. (Singular man: Place the apostrophe before the s.)
Plural: All the men's cars were brought to the car wash. (Plural: The plural of man [men] requires an internal spelling change from a to e. The apostrophe is still placed before the s.)
Singular: The lady's hat was huge. (Singular lady: Place the apostrophe before the s.)
Plural: The ladies' monthly book club meeting was rescheduled. (Plural ladies: The plural of lady requires a change in the ending from y to ies. The apostrophe is placed after the s.)
Exceptions: Its is the possessive form of it. However, it's means it is. His and hers are the possessive forms of he and she.
- The dog puts its ears back when it is angry. (Possessive form of it.)
- It's a perfect day for a picnic. (It's means it is.)
- Hers is the new Apple computer. (Hers is the possessive form of she.)
- He picked up his daughter. (His is the possessive form of he.)
Use an apostrophe to indicate the plural of letters in order to avoid confusion.
A's, B's, I's, L's, v's, c's, W's, Z's
Apostrophe Practice and Answers
In each of the following sentences, insert or delete apostrophes where necessary.
- Our homes front yard needs new plantings.
- Deb wasnt expected for hours.
- The dog vigorously shook it's wet coat when it went for its walk.
- Did anyone ever instruct you to dot your i s and cross your t s?
- Its a long journey, isnt it?
1. …home's 2. …wasn't 3. …its 4. …i's… your t's? 5. It's… isn't it?
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