Apostrophe

Apostrophe

The apostrophe has three main uses in English. It indicates: contractions and missing letters, possessives, and special plurals. Learn more about the apostrophe by clicking the tabs below.

Content

  • Contractions
  • Possessives
  • Special Plurals

Contractions

Use an apostrophe to show the place of missing letters in a contracted form.

Example:
it’s = it is/ it has
she’d = she had/ she would
can’t = cannot
’86 = 1986 (only in informal writing)

Possessives

When the noun ends in any letter other than s, place the apostrophe before the possessive s.

Example:
I’m going to Mark’s house.
The hairdresser’s salon was very busy today.
The tram’s ticket machine broke down.

Names that end in s can be followed by an apostrophe or an apostrophe + s.

Example:
Mr Jones’ house is number 56.
Mr Jones’s house is on the left.

The s in plural nouns is followed simply by an apostrophe.

Example:
It is the best girls’ school in the country.
The boys’ basketball team is on a winning streak.

To show shared possession, use apostrophe + s after the last name.

Example:
Katie and Mark’s house

they own the house together

To show individual possession, use apostrophe + s after each possessor .

Example:
Katie’s and Mark’s houses were built in the same year.

they own a house each

Info

Don’t use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns/determiners (yours, its etc).

Example:
Has the dog had its walk? (not: … it’s walk)
Is that red car yours? (not: … your’s?)

Special Plurals

An apostrophe is not usually used with plural nouns. However, an apostrophe is needed to avoid confusion with certain letters or numbers.

Example:
May got her report card last week. She got three A’s, two B’s and two C’s. (not: three As)
How many 5’s can you see in the picture?