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Apostrophe Punctuation


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.

Back to Punctuation Page

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