Apostrophes: Basic Rules

Apostrophes are punctuation marks that are primarily used to show possession and to indicate missing letters in a contracted word.

Examples of Apostrophes

Rules for Apostrophes that Show Possession

To show possession of a singular noun, simply place an apostrophe and an -s to the end of the word:

Tyrone‘s bicycle, the pencil‘s eraser, the dog‘s collar

To show possession of a plural noun that already ends with an -s, simply place an apostrophe at the end of the word:

four cats litter boxes, two babies‘ cribs, three teachers‘ gradebooks

To show possession of a plural noun that does not end with an -s, simply place an apostrophe and an -s at the end of the word:

two women‘s notebooks, four children‘s crayons, three geese‘s feathers

Rules for Apostrophes to Indicate Missing Letters

An apostrophe is used to indicate the placement of missing letters in a contracted word:

cannot > cant

do not > dont

I will > Ill

is not > isnt

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