Secrets behind Apostrophe

All about apastrophe

by | Aug 9, 2019 | Grammar

Apostrophe (‘) is a punctuation mark which is mainly used in two areas: 1- possessives and 2- omission. However, there is another usage which is widely ignored, not to mention many other points to consider. Let’s find out apostrophe’s secrets.

1- Possessive (‘s)

You can use an apostrophe to show that something belongs to someone (or sometimes something) e.g.

Jack’s car is parked over there.
The city’s police department ranked 1st in the nation.
Rosetta’s little sister works as a secretary.
The people’s lives are in danger.

Note: If the name ends in “s”, you must put the apostrophe after “s” e.g.

Charles’ new shop is about to open soon.
This must be Francois’.

Note: If the word is plural (ending in “s” or “es”, again the apostrophe comes after the “s” e.g.

These cars’ wheels need replacement.

2- Omission

You can also use apostrophe in contracted forms when you omit some letters to make the word shorter. For example:

They don’t really mean anything.
He’d rather join the club.
It’s necessary to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in cities.

Note: Do not confuse “it’s” with “its”:

It’s part of the job. (It is part of the job.)
Its part is broken. (The part belonging to it is broken.)

3- Pluralization of letters

When you want to pluralize one letter or a number. For example:

He passed his exam with three A’s.
Your v’s are written like r’s.
Did you get all the 10’s?

Note: This rule does not apply when there is a group of letters.

There were more than 100 MPs in the parliament today.

A Note to IELTS candidates

Only numbers 1 and 3 are used in IELTS writing. Using contracted forms is not generally suitable for IELTS writing tasks.
About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL and British Council staff member with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →

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