Apostrophes are probably the most misused punctuation marks in English and you do not have to look far to see examples of incorrect usage.
Should you use ’s or s’? Or should you leave out the apostrophe altogether?
Then there’s the very common problem of “its”. Do you use “it’s” or “its”? With or without an apostrophe?
This misuse, or abuse, of apostrophes is a problem for many people, not just for newcomers to English but also for many people whose English skills are otherwise reasonably good. This particular grammatical problem afflicts people with all levels of education and in all positions in society. You'll find apostrophes used incorrectly in university papers and shop signs, in business reports and plumbers’ invoices. Even journalists, and others who write for a living, are not immune.
This little book is devoted purely to the apostrophe, a tiny punctuation mark which usually occupies less than a page in most books on English grammar. This booklet covers when and where you should use apostrophes and also where you shouldn’t, with plenty of examples and explanations. No matter who you are, if you ever have trouble working with apostrophes then this little book will help.
I have spent much of my working life as a teacher, initially at secondary level then at tertiary level. I also spent many years devising and delivering courses for adults. I still love teaching although these days it’s on a much more informal level. I've done a lot of writing over the years, mainly curriculum and technical stuff, and I've developed a reputation for being able to deliver material in a way which is both easy to read and easy to understand. I’m also known as a bit of a pedant with a concern for detail and facts. While friends can find this a little excessive, even annoying, my attention to detail does make me a good proofreader and editor. It also puts me in a good position to produce a little book about such a ubiquitous grammatical error as the apostrophe.read more
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