When do we use Apostrophes?
There are two basic uses of the apostrophe in English:
1 - To show that letters or numbers are missing.
In contractions, we use an apostrophe to indicate that a letter is missing:
- Isn't = is not
- '72 = 1972
2 - To show possession
If something belongs to a person or thing, we use an apostrophe to show ownership:
- Jane's house is in a nice area. (The house belongs to Jane)
We put the apostrophe after the letter s in a plural:
- The girls' mother collected them from school. (There were two or more girls)
NB: With irregular plurals, we put the apostrophe before the letter s:
- The children's teacher was very popular.
The apostrophe with plurals
We very rarely use the apostrophe to show plurals and only under special circumstances:
- Some people use them with acronyms (words made from the first letters of a phrase, like CD for Compact Disc)- CD's. Others do not use the apostrophe here.
- Numbers- Some people write the 1990's and others write the 1990s.
- To make a letter plural- mind your p's and q's (an expression meaning 'mind your manners')
Other than these circumstances, the apostrophe should not be used in plurals unless they are showing possession.
Enjoyed this article?
Please help us spread the word: