Apostrophe – How To Use Apostrophes For Perfect Writing?

For several decades, English writers, scholars, play writers have been in the support of using appropriate usage of grammar and forming correct sentences.

We, as students have always been encouraged by our teachers and parents to use perfect English.

But now…

…with the advent of the messaging language or better known as SMS lingo; usage of correct grammar is diminishing.

For a grammar Nazi like me, it is a situation of much trepidation.

What is concerning for pricky people for grammar is not how the sentence changes its meaning but that because of some silly and ignorant people, everybody is jumping on the bandwagon.

Well, I think that an “apostrophe” is the most abused and neglected punctuation mark in the English language.

People don’t even know what it means, leave alone its correct usage.

The apostrophe, which is marked as , is a punctuation mark used for two and only two purposes in the English language -

  1. to show possession and
  2. to indicate the omission of letters or numbers.

The rules for an apostrophe are much definite, but there’s no doubt in saying that they’re often misapplied.

Here, we’ll discuss some common known but not so known guidelines on how to use the punctuation mark, apostrophe.

The Rules

Relation with Possessive Nouns:

The first and the foremost thing related to an apostrophe is Possession.

It is generally used to show the possession with a singular noun by adding a ‘s’ to the punctuation mark.

For instance -

  • A man’s coat is lying on the mat.
  • Mrs. Suzanne’s house is always spick and span.
  • Beijing’s buildings are much taller than that of Hong Kong’s.

In the above sentences, the word next to the apostrophe-s shows that it belongs to them.

In the first sentence, it is shown that a coat, which belongs to a man, is lying on the floor.

Similarly, in other sentences also, the things are possessed by the words with which an apostrophe is used.

➢ This punctuation mark can be used both with Common as well as Proper nouns. It is to be seen by the user, how to use it well.

Singular? Plural? Eh?

Just see whether a word is singular or plural.

Apostrophes don’t go with plurals.


…there, of course, is an exception.

If there is a single letter word, then it can be used.

Like in the sentence, The t’s in the word kitty should be inclined towards right.”

The rule that an apostrophe is used with single capitalized letters is often contradicted.

Also, if the word is a plural and possessive both, then apostrophe goes after the “s.”

For example -

  • Girls’ night out was a hit.

In this, if we had written girl’s then it would’ve meant only one girl.

➢ It should be noted that if multiple nouns jointly own another noun, then the apostrophe is used only on the final noun.

For example -

  • The girl and the kid’s umbrella got exchanged in the shop.

In this, both the girl and the kid have different umbrellas.

➢ Apostrophes are not to be added when the noun is descriptive rather than possessive and end in s.

For Example -

  • A savings bank.

In this, the bank is for savings.


Don’t, won’t, haven’t… does it sound familiar?

We often use these words in our daily conversation or writing.

The shortened versions of words or phrases that are mostly limited to casual writing are the contractions.

An apostrophe spots the place where the letters have been omitted.


…these contractions should be avoided in formal writing.

For instance -

  • I’m not going to work today.

The italic word is the short form of “I am”.

It is often seen that people use apostrophes in quite strange places.

Just remember, that this punctuation mark does NOT go with possessive pronouns.

For example -

  • Whose’s car is that?

The above sentence is incorrect.

"Whose’s" is a contraction of "who is" while whose is a progressive pronoun.

Therefore, the apostrophe will not come with pronouns like whose, theirs, his, hers, yours, etc.

➢ The confusion of its and it’s is global.

"Its" is used to show possession whereas "it’s" is a contraction of "it is."

Apostrophes are also used when units of time and money are used as possessive adjectives.

For example -

  • An hour’s break.
  • Three week’s notice

 ➢ Make sure that you don’t show possession by changing the nouns ending with "y" with replacing it with "ies."

For example -

  • The company’s structure.

The sentence can’t be changed into "the companies structure."

The above were some ground rules that should be kept in mind while using the most contradicted punctuation mark an ‘apostrophe.

NOTE: You can use these Free Online Apostrophe Checker tools to correct your apostrophe mistakes.

A Recap

The last thing that we want you to remember and stick to is to ask yourself whether it’s an apostrophe or not while writing.

When in doubt, just think about the words’ meaning.

Look if that noun owns something, or two separate words are being combined into a contradiction.

Grammar is the set of rules.

Stick to the rules and you’ll never do a single slip-up in your writing.

Adiós for now.

We’ll meet next time here only with some other interesting grammar etiquette.

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