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Transcript
How to Use the Apostrophe
Its or it’s? Johnson’s or Johnsons’? How are you supposed to know? Mostly, when people get confused
about apostrophes, they are actually confused about whether a word is singular or plural. Here are the
rules of apostrophes and some examples to help you along.
1. Use an apostrophe to show where letters have been deleted to form a contraction
 It’s (a contraction of “it is”)
 You’re (you are)
 She’s (she is)
 Can’t (cannot)
 Isn’t (is not)
 Don’t (do not)
 We’re (we are)
 Aren’t (are not)
And so on and so forth. The apostrophe is placed where the letter(s) have been omitted; remember, this
is not always the same place where the original two words are joined.
Special Note: The contraction it’s means “it is,” which is different from the possessive its. It is a common
error, and it is (or it’s) easy to confuse the two. The following is an example:


It’s the largest alligator in the galaxy!
The alligator actually escaped its cage.
2. Use an apostrophe with –s for possessives of singular nouns, even if that singular noun
already ends in –s.
 Harold’s crayons
 My daughter’s First Communion
 Dylan Thomas’s poetry
 Victoria Beckham’s husband
 Today’s weather report
3. Use an apostrophe without –s for possessives of most plural nouns
To form the possessive of a plural noun that already ends in –s, add an apostrophe


The girls’ swing set (the swing set belonging to the girls)
The Johnsons’ house (the house belonging to the Johnsons)
If the plural noun does not end in –s, add an apostrophe plus –s


The women’s conference (the conference belonging to the women)
The children’s toys (the toys belonging to the children)
Examples from http://grammar.about.com/od/punctuationandfmechanics/tp/GuideApostrophe.htm