You see the apostrophe in so many places. But using an apostrophe can be quite tricky. Sometimes we use it for possession, sometimes to show omission or contraction, but what about plurals? And what is this confusion with it’s and its? That’s an all-time tricky one. Let’s get all of this sorted right now in this chapter!
Apostrophe: Usage and Exceptions
An apostrophe is used to show possession of something or someone. So if you wanted to say the sister of Meena, you could just say Meena’s sister. That’s a way how you showed possession using apostrophe.
- Navin’s mother is a school principal.
- Ben’s coffee house is the best in town.
- Juno’s pizza is my favorite.
- The cat’s whiskers were dripping with milk.
- Today’s weather news is featuring on E news.
In some cases, the one you are showing possession to is in plural form and already has an “s” at the end. in those cases, we add the apostrophe after the “s”. For example:
- The turtles’ house is on the North Island beach.
- The kittens’ mother is hunting for their new home.
- Our grandparents’ house is in Texas.
When you want to write a joint possession, here’s what you do:
- Jim and Ben’s house is at West street. (The house belongs to Jim and Ben both)
- Jim’s and Ben’s houses are at the West street. (Ben and Jim have separate houses)
Contractions and Omissions
Some words are contracted by using an apostrophe as the sound nearly is the same as the entire word. In this, you omit a few letters and use apostrophe instead. For example:
- I am becomes I’m
- Shall not becomes shan’t
- Is not becomes isn’t
- Cannot becomes can’t
- Could not becomes couldn’t
- Did not becomes didn’t
- pick and mix becomes pick ‘n’ mix
- she would becomes she’d
- she had becomes she’d
- she will becomes she’ll
- It is becomes it’s
- 1980 becomes ’80
- You are becomes you’re
That leads to our next big topic-
Is it “it’s” or “its”?
Got your tongue twisted, didn’t we? We get confused between the two all the time. Let’s get it straight once and for all:
1. “Its” is used to mean “belonging to it”.
2. “It’s” is used “it is” or “it has”
- It’s windy in Dehradun.
- It’s wrong to disturb the elderly.
- It’s a beautiful day.
Apostrophe for Plurals
Most plurals end in “s”. And as we saw earlier, we add the apostrophe right after the “S”. Like kittens’, dogs’, girls’ and so on. In case the plural doesn’t end in “s”, we add the apostrophe and then add the “s”. For example:
- Children’s health is our priority.
This apostrophe also shows possession to a plural word. Remember the “s” doesn’t make the word a plural on its own.
Exceptions: Don’t use an apostrophe after possessive pronouns like his, hers, theirs, etc.
Lastly, don’t use apostrophe whenever you see an “s” at the end. Remember possession, contraction, and omission. Go on and try a few sentences using the apostrophe!