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Using apostrophes

Many people claim that they don’t understand apostrophes. At least, they don’t understand where to put them!

Basically, an apostrophe indicates that someone or something owns something else. For example, the boy’s dog – the boy owns the dog.

For a singular owner, it’s easy. The apostrophe and an s come after the word – boy’s, Mary’s and woman’s.

Its also easy if a plural term exists, such as men’s, crowd’s, children’s and management’s.

If the owner ends in s, the apostrophe comes after the s without an additional s. So the horses’ stable and the Smiths’ house are correct.

Apostrophes are also required in abbreviations to show letters are missing. For instance, are not becomes aren’t and do not becomes don’t.

The trickiest word is its…

It’s is the abbreviation of it is; the possessive term is its. So it’s raining today, but the horse lost its shoe.

So there are no apostrophes for decades, numbers, plural abbreviations or plural items – some correct examples are
– during the 60s
– she bought some CDs
– find all the As
– look at my photos
– he is in his 90s
– a list of URLs
– the babies are sleeping
– we will have three pizzas please.

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