The Apostrophe (‘) is used in English to show that a letter has been missed out of a word. because of changes over time in our language we are often unaware that an extra letter(s) was ever there. It is probably most helpful to see the apostrophe as being for two purposes:
1. to indicate possession
2. to show missing letters in a shortened form.
Use an apostrophe before the s where there is only one “owner”, as in:
- My friend’s drink
- Mark’s lunch
- The pub’s menu
Use an apostrophe after the s where there is more than one “owner”, as in:
- The two students’ work
- The three girls’ lunches
- The birds’ food supply
Use an apostrophe after the s if the word already ends in an s, as in:
- James’ lunch
Use an apostrophe before the s where the “owner” word is already plural, as in:
- The children’s lunches
- The mice’s cheese
The exception to these rules is the word “its” where the word indicates something belonging to an object. There is no apostrophe in this case.
- The door’s hinges were rusty.
- Its hinges were rusty.
Apostrophes are used in shortened forms, i.e., where two words are condensed into one:
It is raining / It’s raining.
I could not see / I couldn’t see.
I should not be here / I shouldn’t be here.
and the odd one:
I will not go / I won’t go.
In all of these examples the apostrophe represents the missing letter(s).
Now put apostrophes in the right places in the following sentences. Note: not all of the sentences need apostrophes.
The boys hair was wet (1 boy).
The boys party was ruined (more than 1 boy)
The girls werre good friends to each other.
The Womens Movement had brought about many changes.
I wasnt going to stand for that.
Its going to be hard work.
The cars engine wouldnt start: its battery was flat.
The charities work was productive.
The childs pocket money was stopped.
The childrens charity raised £1000.
We wont be going there again.