How to Use Apostrophes When Writing in English

You wouldn’t think about {that a} humble piece of punctuation just like the apostrophe could be succesful of inflicting a lot confusion however all too usually, and possibly understandably, its incorrect use is a supply of annoying error. People really feel so strongly in regards to the apostrophe that it even has its personal advocates within the kind of the ‘Apostrophe Appreciation Society’ who goal to make sure that ‘this at the moment a lot abused punctuation mark’ is accurately employed. To add to the confusion, the apostrophe is utilized in many various methods internationally. Our information beneath will inform you when and how you can use apostrophes within the English language.

Apostrophe Grammar

When you shouldn’t use apostrophes

Apostrophes are by no means utilized in English to indicate a plural (a couple of of one thing). This is one of the most typical apostrophe errors you see on store indicators or in ads. We have some examples beneath:

Hoist the sail’s (unsuitable)                               Hoist the sails (right)

Shoe’s on the market (unsuitable)                               Shoes on the market (right)

100’s of folks within the crowd (unsuitable)       100s of folks within the crowd (right)

High grade CPU’s (unsuitable)                          High grade CPUs (right)


Apostrophe Grammar 2

When you need to use apostrophes

There are solely two methods by which you need to use apostrophes in English. The first is for possession i.e. when one thing belongs to any individual (or one thing) and the second is for omission i.e. when letters have been eliminated to shorten a phrase.

Using apostrophes for possession

Most possessive sentences may be written a great distance or a brief approach, for instance:

The color of the van was crimson, or The van’s color was crimson.

The faces of the youngsters had been soiled, or The youngsters’s faces had been soiled.

The gown of Katy, or Katy’s gown.


This applies to all nouns whether or not they’re widespread nouns (e.g. van) or correct nouns (e.g. Katy).


The exception to this rule is when the phrase, ‘its’ is used as a possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns are phrases that present possession, (e.g. your automobile, her gown, its color or their faces) and none of them require an apostrophe.

The canine licked it’s bone. (unsuitable)               The canine licked its bone. (right)

The tree dropped it’s leaves. (unsuitable)       The tree dropped its leaves. (right)


When used for possession the apostrophe comes earlier than the ‘s’ until the noun is a plural (a couple of), by which case it is going to often already finish in ‘s’. For instance:

The butcher’s store closed early. (just one butcher)

The butchers’ outlets all closed early. (a couple of butcher)


The trainer’s pay was elevated. (just one trainer)

Every lecturers’ pay was elevated. (a couple of trainer)


Some nouns in English don’t use an ‘s’ or ‘es’ to indicate that they’re a plural. These are known as irregular nouns, for instance:

youngsters not childs

sheep not sheeps

tooth not tooths


In the case of an irregular plural noun, the apostrophe ought to come after the phrase and be adopted by an ‘s’ for instance:

The youngsters’s garments had been within the suitcase. (right)

The childrens garments had been within the suitcase. (unsuitable)

The childrens garments had been within the suitcase. (unsuitable)


Another trigger for confusion with apostrophes used to indicate possession is when the singular noun ends in an ‘s’. This can occur with names however may occur with widespread nouns. The official method to cope with that is so as to add an apostrophe and one other ‘s’ for instance:

Official Apostrophe Use

The boys admired Atticus’s new soccer shirt. (right)

The boys admired Atticus’ new soccer shirt. (unsuitable)


However in fashionable utilization it has grow to be acceptable to go away off the ultimate ‘s’.

Acceptable Modern Apostrophe Use

The boys admired Atticus’ new soccer shirt. (right)

If adopting this extra fashionable method, you will need to guarantee that the apostrophe is after the unique ‘s’. In the following instance the gentleman’s title is Mr Hastings not Mr Hasting:

Mr Hastings’ pen was leaking ink. (right)

Mr Hasting’s pen was leaking ink. (unsuitable)


Using apostrophes for omission (contractions)

The English language, notably direct speech, generally makes use of contractions, that are when two phrases have been made into one shorter phrase. For instance:

you might be = you’re (this isn’t the identical because the possessive pronoun ‘your’)

they’d = they’d

With every of these contractions a letter or a number of letters have been missed out and changed by an apostrophe. The rule is easy; you place the apostrophe the place the lacking letters had been, for instance:


I’ve = I’ve (‘h’ and ‘a’ have been changed by an apostrophe)

I shouldn’t = I shouldn’t (‘o’ has been changed by an apostrophe)


Note the exception to this rule:

I can’t = I gained’t (the basis phrase has modified and the ‘o’ has been changed by an apostrophe)


apostrophe monster

Common English Apostrophe Mistakes

We have listed the most typical apostrophe errors beneath that can assist you to keep away from them:


  1. Plurals (no apostrophe wanted)

The flowers had been stunning. (right)

The flower’s had been stunning. (unsuitable)


  1. Homophones (phrases which sound the identical)

I can see the flowers, they’re stunning. (right)

I can see the flowers, their stunning. (unsuitable)

I can see the flowers, there stunning. (unsuitable)


Do you already know whose automobile that’s? (right)

Do you already know who’s automobile that’s? (unsuitable)


Does that canine belong to you? Is it your canine? (right)

Does that canine belong to you? Is it you’re canine? (unsuitable)


  1. Possessive Pronouns (by no means want an apostrophe)

The cat ate its meals. (right)

The cat ate it’s meals. (unsuitable)


I believe this essay is yours. (right)

I believe this essay is your’s. (unsuitable)


As with most elements of English grammar, the principles for apostrophe utilization have modified over time, that is one of the explanations they appear to be so sophisticated. If you want to verify your apostrophe experience, have a go at these two apostrophe quizzes. When you might be writing in English just be sure you use the spelling and grammar verify operate on your laptop. If you might be ever uncertain about your use of apostrophes in a chunk of writing, it’s a good suggestion to ask any individual to proofread and edit it for you.

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