The apostrophe is used for two main purposes; to show possessiveness of nouns and with contractions.
‘s is used to show ‘ownership’ or ‘belonging’ with singular nouns. For example:
It was Sam’s turn to go first.
He used to be one of the band’s biggest fans.
If the noun ends in s then the ‘s is still added. For example:
He could not find the harness’s tie-down point.
There are some names that do not require the additional s. For example:
She found James’ coat.
Most plural nouns do not require an additional s. Adding the apostrophe is sufficient. For example:
The ladies’ changing room was in the far corner.
The possessive form of plural nouns that do not end in s are treated like singular nouns. For example:
The women’s gym class was fully subscribed.
Children’s behaviour has changed over the years.
Periods of time can also require a possessive apostrophe. For example:
That was two weeks’ work down the drain.
He could be there at a moment’s notice.
It is an understandable mistake to use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns. For example:
Yours, its, his, hers are correct
Your’s, it’s, his’, and her’s are incorrect
Note: it’s is a contraction of it is.
The apostrophe is used to indicate that letters and spaces between words have been omitted to shorten words. This is more common with informal writing and representative of how we often speak. The table below shows some examples.
|can't||cannot, can not|
|he'll||he will, he shall|
|I'll||I will, I shall|
|it's||it is, it has|
|she'd||she would, she had|
|there's||there is, there has|
|who'd||who had, who would|
|wouldn't||would not have|
The pluralising of single letters might be considered unconventional grammar. Nevertheless, the apostrophe can be used with the plural of a single letter. For example:
He always remembers to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.