The Apostrophe: A Punctuation Adventure!

Let’s explore the puzzling world of English apostrophes.

This tiny punctuation mark may seem harmless, but its usage can be a tricky path to navigate—even for native speakers of English.

The Misunderstood Mark

So what exactly does this tiny squiggle do? Well, it has a few jobs:

  • Contractions: One of its favourite gigs is joining two words together and making them shorter. For example, “can not” becomes “can’t.” “Will not” becomes “won’t,” and so on.
  • Possession: The apostrophe also likes to show ownership. When something belongs to someone or something, the apostrophe steps in. For example, “my colleague’s books” means the books belonging to my colleague. But if a person’s name ends with an ‘s,’ an apostrophe plus ‘s’ is added. For example, “Charles’s birthday is in June.”

The Tricky Part: Apostrophes and Plurals

The apostrophe goes before the ‘s’ for singular nouns or names. But for plural nouns, it goes after the ‘s.’

For instance, “My colleagues’ books” refers to the books of several colleagues. But “my colleague’s books” are the books of one single colleague.

Remember these tips, and you’ll be an apostrophe pro!

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Foto Christine Sparks

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