When To Use Apostrophes

Apostrophes have three uses: to show possession, to show that letters of a word have been left out (contraction), and to form the plural of abbreviations.

Possession:

Show possession of a singular noun by adding ‘ s

Examples:

Boy’s hoodie           Gina’s lipgloss          Matt’s sandwich       My boss’s coffee mug

 

Show possession of a plural noun ending in by adding an apostrophe

Examples:

The Adamses’ car       Our bosses’ decision

 

Show possession of a plural noun not ending in s by adding ‘ s

Examples:

Children’s books      Women’s dresses       Men’s shoes

When two or more nouns (person, place, thing, or idea) have joint ownership, the last noun shows possession. When the nouns show individual ownership, each noun must show possession.

Examples:

Megan and Carly’s contract with the company will run out soon. (Both girls have a single contract with the company).

Megan’s and Carly’s contract with the company will run out soon. (The girls have separate contracts with the company).

 

Contractions:

Use an apostrophe  where letters have been left out.

Examples:

Cannot = can’t

Madam = Ma’am

Going = goin

Do not = don’t

 

Plurals of Abbreviations:

Use ‘s to indicate the plural of an abbreviation or other short words.

Examples:

I got all A’s on my report card.

He earned two M.B.A’s.