Image Alt

Lesson Tutor : Language Arts : Grammar : That Dratted Apostrophe

  /  Lesson Tutor : Language Arts : Grammar : That Dratted Apostrophe

That Dratted Apostrophe
by Elaine Ernst Schneider

There you are, faced again with whether to use the apostrophe or not. It is a tricky thing – sometimes used for plural forms of words, but mostly not. Certainly used to denote possession . . . except with those pesky possessive pronouns. What ARE the rules? you ask.

Well, the teacher in me has to answer. Let’s see how we can break it down:

1. Use an apostrophe to show the omission of letters or numbers, a contraction.

Examples:
It’s a shame. (Stands for: It is a shame.)
That happened in ’80. (Stands for: That happened in 1980.)

2. Use an apostrophe to show the plural form of letters and numbers.

Examples:
There are two s’s in that word.
She dots all her i’s and crosses all her t’s.
My son can say his 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s in five different languages.

3. Use an apostrophe to show the plural form of a few unusual words.

Examples:
She mailed all the thank-you’s so late that we were embarrassed.
The contract had so many “that’s” in it, that we felt uncomfortable about signing it.

4. For the most part, you do NOT use the apostrophe to show plural form.

Examples:
There were many heros (or heroes) in my hometown.
Victories for the enemy numbered in the hundreds.

5. Use an apostrophe to show possession.

Example:
That is Sandra’s book.
NOTE: You usually have a noun after the word that shows possession. Before you use the apostrophe, stop and ask yourself if there is a word in that sentence that denotes something belonging to someone. If not, then rethink using an apostrophe.

6. Do NOT use an apostrophe to show possession with pronouns. “Its” is often confusing to writers. Its is possessive, just like his, hers, and ours. None of the other possessive pronouns have apostrophes, so that is a good way to remember that its doesn’t have one either. (“It’s” can only mean one thing: it is.)

Examples:
The bridge was elegant – a symbol of its own strength and beauty.
The victory was ours.

7. Use an apostrophe before the s when showing the possessive form of singular nouns.

Examples:
The child’s mother panicked when she could not find her son.
The witness’s memory was vague on that point.

8. Use an apostrophe after the s when the word is plural and possessive, if its plural form is regular.

Examples:
Our creditors gave us two weeks’ notice.
The Joneses’ cars were all stolen.
You have heard both the girls’ stories.
NOTE: The noun following a plural possessive is usually – although not always, as evidenced in the first example – plural also, i.e. two girls, two stories and two families of Joneses and two cars.

9. Use an apostrophe before the s when the word is plural and possessive but its plural form is irregular.

Examples:
The children’s recess is about to start.
The women’s cries were heard.

10. Use an apostrophe only after the second name when the possession belongs to two people and they are mentioned in the sentence at the same time.

Example:
That computer program is Jane and Sam’s.
NOTE: One computer program belonging to two people, i.e. joint ownership.

It’s a crazy thing, this apostrophe, how to know when it’s its or it’s, and keeping up with the Jones’ or the Joneses’ way of life is getting more and more complicated all the time!

For more Articles by this Author, Click Here
For more Lesson Plans in the Subject: Grade 11 Grammar
For more Lesson Plans in the subject: Grade 9 Grammar

Alphabet Coloring – Letter Coloring Worksheet Preschool – 3

Alphabet Coloring – Letter Coloring Worksheet Preschool – 4

1 More 1 Less Worksheet Kindergarten

1 More 1 Less Worksheet Kindergarten – 2

Adding and Subtracting Tens Worksheet 1st Grade – 2

Adding and Subtracting Tens Worksheet 1st Grade

10 More Worksheet 1st Grade

10 Less Worksheet 1st Grade

Subtracting Tens Worksheet 1st Grade

“What Comes Between?” Worksheet Kindergarten – 6

Making 10 Worksheet 1st Grade

Making 9 Worksheet 1st Grade

Making 8 Worksheet 1st Grade

Making 7 Worksheet 1st Grade

Making 10 Worksheet 1st Grade – 2

Making 4 Worksheet 1st Grade

Making 5 Worksheet 1st Grade

Shapes Worksheet Two Preschool

3 Digit Addition with Carry-Over Worksheet Five 1st Grade

10 More 10 Less & 1 More 1 Less Worksheet Four 1st Grade

Part Part Whole 1st Grade – 2

Part Part Whole 1st Grade

Missing Addend 1st Grade

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade – 7

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade – 6

3 Digit Subtraction with Borrowing Worksheet Four 1st Grade

Subtraction Word Problems 1st Grade

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade – 5

2 Digit Addition Worksheets Four 1st Grade – 2

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade – 4

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade – 3

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade – 2

Addition Word Problems 1st Grade

Square Root Worksheet 2- 6th Grade

Square Root Worksheet 3- 6th Grade

Square Root Worksheet 4- 6th Grade

2 Digit Subtraction with Borrowing Worksheet Four 1st Grade – 2

Square Root– 1-30 Worksheets 5th Grade

2 Digit Addition Worksheet Three 1st Grade

Square Root– 1-20 Worksheets 5th Grade – 2

Square Root– 1-20 Worksheets 5th Grade

Square Root– 1-30 Worksheets 5th Grade-2

Square Root– 1-30 Worksheets 5th Grade 3

Counting Worksheets Kindergarten

Count and Match – Numbers 1-10 Kindergarten

Draw Hands on the Clock Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Draw Hands on the Clock Worksheet Kindergarten

Numbers in Words Matching Worksheet Kindergarten 4

Longest and Shortest Comparison Worksheet – Two Kindergarten 2

Longest and Shortest Comparison Worksheet – Two Kindergarten

Numbers in Words Matching Worksheet Kindergarten 3

Doubles Addition Picture Worksheet – Two Kindergarten

Doubles Plus One Picture Worksheet-Two Kindergarten

Counting Worksheet Preschool

Picture Addition Worksheet 1st Grade

Picture Subtraction Worksheet Two- 1st Grade

One More One Less Worksheet 1st Grade

Big Bigger Biggest Worksheet – One Kindergarten

Big Bigger Biggest Worksheet – Two Kindergarten

Count and Graph Picture Worksheet – Two Kindergarten 2

Count and Graph Picture Worksheet – Two Kindergarten

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 22

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 21

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 20

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 19

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 18

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 16

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 15

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 14

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 13

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 12

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 11

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 10

Doubles Plus One Worksheet 1st Grade- 2

Add and Multiply Worksheet 2nd Grade- 10

Add and Multiply Worksheet 2nd Grade- 9

Add and Multiply Worksheet 2nd Grade- 8

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 9

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 8

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 7

Greatest Number Worksheet Kindergarten

Smallest Number Worksheet Kindergarten

Number Patterns Worksheet 1st Grade- 6

Number Patterns Worksheet 1st Grade- 5

Number Patterns Worksheet 1st Grade- 4

Number Patterns Worksheet 1st Grade- 3

Number Patterns Worksheet 1st Grade- 2

Number Patterns Worksheet 1st Grade

Shapes Pattern Recognition Worksheet Preschool 3

Shapes Pattern Recognition Worksheet Preschool 2

Timed Addition Drill Worksheet Three – First Grade

Timed Addition Drill Worksheet Two – First Grade

Missing Operator Add or Subtract Worksheet First Grade- 2

Basic Addition Facts Two First Grade

Basic Addition Facts One First Grade

Basic Addition Facts 1st Grade- 3

Basic Addition Facts 1st Grade- 2

Shapes Pattern Recognition Worksheet Preschool

2 Digit Subtraction Worksheet Four – 1st Grade

Shapes Tracing Worksheet Six – Preschool

Even & Odd Worksheet 1st Grade

Size Comparison Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Size Comparison Worksheet Kindergarten

Comparing Numbers Worksheet 1st Grade

Greater Number Worksheet 1st Grade

Shapes Tracing Worksheet Preschool 7

Square Root Clock Worksheet 6th Grade

3 Digit Subtraction Worksheet Three – First Grade

4 Digit Subtraction Worksheet Three – First Grade

Hundred Chart Kindergarten

Tally Marks Numbers in Words Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Tally Marks Numbers in Words Worksheet Kindergarten

Numbers 1-10 Shapes Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Numbers 1-10 Shapes Worksheet Kindergarten

Doubles Plus One Worksheet First Grade 4

Doubles Plus One Worksheet First Grade 3

Doubles Plus One Worksheet First Grade 2

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 6

Addition and Subtraction Worksheet 1st Grade

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade-7

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade-6

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade-5

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade-4

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade-3

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade-2

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Three 2nd Grade

Division Worksheet 5th Grade

Division Worksheet – Three-5th Grade

Division Worksheet – Six- 5th Grade

Coloring Fractions Worksheet – Two 2nd Grade

Square Root Worksheet 6th Grade

Numbers in Words Tally Marks Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Numbers in Words Tally Marks Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Watermelon Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Butterfly Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Balloon Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Owl Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Color by Number Worksheet Preschool 17

Dot to Dot Turtle Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Swan Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Octopus Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Fish Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Doubles Plus One Worksheet 1st Grade

Dot to Dot Snail Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Ladybug Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Bee Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Giraffe Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Tree Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Boot Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot House Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Duck Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Dot to Dot Rocket Numbers Worksheet Preschool

Basic Addition Facts – Ten Worksheets 1st Grade 2

Dot to Dot Owl Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Duck Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Swan Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Octopus Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Butterfly Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Car Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Adding One Worksheet 1st Grade

Dot to Dot Ladybug Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Bee Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Snail Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Adding Zero Worksheet 1st Grade

Butterfly Life Cycle Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Numbers Worksheet Kindergarten

Beginner Maze Worksheet Preschool 5

Beginner Maze Worksheet Preschool 8

Beginner Maze Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Beginner Maze Worksheet Kindergarten 6

Opposites Worksheet Preschool

Basic Addition Facts Worksheet 1st Grade

Pattern Recognition Worksheet Kindergarten

Connect the Other Half Shapes Worksheet Kindergarten

What Comes Next Patterns Worksheet Kindergarten 3

What Comes Next Patterns Worksheet Kindergarten 2

What Comes Next Patterns Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Shapes Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half House Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Sun Worksheet Kindergarten

Adding Zero Worksheet 2 1st Grade

Draw the Other Half Emoji Face Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Draw the Other Half Emoji Face Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Car Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Butterfly Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Bee Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Rocket Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Owl Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Flower Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Spider Worksheet Kindergarten

Draw the Other Half Ladybug Worksheet Kindergarten

Dot to Dot Polygon Worksheet Kindergarten 3

Dot to Dot Polygon Worksheet Kindergarten 2

Dot to Dot Polygon Worksheet Kindergarten

Basic Addition Facts – Ten Worksheets 1st Grade