You are on page 1of 2

The apostrophe

1). Contractions One use of the apostrophe is in contracted words. The apostrophe is used to indicate that a letter or letters has/have been removed. If you follow this rule then it will avoid confusion about where the apostrophe should be. He is = he's, I am = I'm, Do not = Don't Contracted forms are very common in spoken language but should not be used in a formal academic essay. In formal/academic writing you must use the full, unabbreviated form. 2). The apostrophe showing possession. If the possessor is a singular noun, an - s is added to the end of the noun. This is true for both proper nouns !people and places beginning with a capital letter" and common nouns !other nouns". e.g. He found himself lost in Madrid's winding streets. The poet's work was highly regarded around the world. # very common mistake is to put apostrophes where they should not be. $any people, unsure about using the apostrophe, put it in every time they see a word ending in s. %rammar checkers do not always highlight this mistake, as they do not know the meaning of the sentence. e.g. Bristol contain's a lot of lo ely old !uilding's and street's. I ha e ne er seen the mountain's and the sea's look so !eautiful. If the possessor is a plural noun ending in s, simply adding an apostrophe after the final s indicates possession. e.g. The teacher was always losing her pupils' !ooks. The monks' meals were ser ed in a cold and damp dining room. If the plural noun does not end in an s, the addition of - s shows possession. e.g. The children's !ooks lay on the ta!le. The men's !oots were lined up outside the door. The women's race will take place !efore the children's race. If the possessor is a singular noun that happens to end in an -s, there is some debate about whether the apostrophe is simply added after the -s or whether an - s is needed. It appears that both are acceptable. &hichever you decide to use, make sure you are consistent. The university 'nglish department s style guide recommends that proper nouns that end in -s form their possessive form by adding - s. e.g. Ha e you seen "ames' !ook# Ha e you seen "ames's !ook# The e(ceptions to this rule are proper nouns that are )atin or %reek in origin. e.g. $dysseus' ad entures spanned many miles and many years. %ythagoras' theorem has !affled generations of school children.

Punctuate the following sentences with apostrophes according to the rules for using the apostrophe. *. &hos the partys candidate for vice president this year+ ,. The fo( had its right foreleg caught securely in the traps -aws. .. Our neighbors car is an old Chrysler, and its -ust about to fall apart. /. In three weeks time well have to begin school again. 0. 1idnt you hear that theyre leaving tomorrow+ 2. &henever I think of the stories I read as a child, I remember Cinderellas glass slipper and 3now &hites wicked stepmother. 4. &e claimed the picnic table was ours, but the 3miths children looked so disappointed that we found another spot. 5. Its important that the kitten learns to find its way home. 6. 3he did not hear her childrens cries. *7. $y address has three 4s, and Tims phone number has four ,s. **. 1idnt he say when he would arrive at #rnies house+ *,. Its such a beautiful day that Ive decided to take a sun bath. *.. 3he said the watch 8ack found was hers, but she couldnt identify the manufacturers name on it. */. )ittle girls clothing is on the first floor, and the mens department is on the second. *0. The dogs bark was far worse than its bite. *2. The moons rays shone feebly on the path, and I heard the insects chirpings and whistlings. *4. Theyre not afraid to go ahead with the plans, though the choice is not theirs. *5. The man whose face was tan said that he had spent his two weeks vacation in the mountains. *6. I found myself constantly putting two cs in the word process. ,7. 8ohns 26 9ord is his proudest possession.