The proper use of apostrophes in writing is important to maintain the writer’s precise meaning.
The apostrophe is used:
a) To indicate contractions:
it’s (it is) don’t (do not) o’clock (on the clock)
b) To show possession.
1) The girl’s dress was purple. ... (singular - referring to only one girl)
2) All the girls’ dresses were purple. ... (plural - referring to more than one girl)
Sometimes it may be difficult to decide where to place the apostrophe to indicate correct possession. A simple rule to follow is to turn the phrase in the sentence around to read:
1) “the dress of the girl”
· If the final word does not end in an “s,” then add ’s (apostrophe s ) to that word in the sentence. (i.e. girl’s )
2) “the dresses of all the girls”
· If the final word in the phrase does end in an “s,” then s’ ( s apostrophe) is used. (i.e. girls’ )
c) To denote joint possession.
Tom, Jake, and Sally’s project received the top grade.
The apostrophe is added to the possessor mentioned last, in a list of two or more.
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