When to Use Apostrophes

Today, we want to go over just a few of the rules related to apostrophes, and their use for showing possession of something.

So, you’ve got a noun that possesses something else, and you want to show possession.


Question 1 of 2

Mini-test: Apostrophes [possession]


1. Which answer shows the incorrect use of an apostrophe?


Question 1 of 2

Question 2 of 2

2. Choose the answer that shows the apostrophe used correctly:


Question 2 of 2


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This transcript is for your convenience.
Sometimes, it can be confusing to know where exactly to put that apostrophe. Before the “s“, after the “s“, do I add an extra “s“?
And so, we just want to go over not all the rules related to the use of apostrophes, but just a few of the select ones, and I’ve got them on the board here behind me. So, we’re going to go over those briefly.

Once again, apostrophes, related to possession, not apostrophes in contractions or things like this, but to show possession.
If there is a plural noun that ends in “s“, the apostrophe comes at the end, and there’s no need to add an extra “s“.

So, when we think of the plural noun “students“, meaning more than one, and we want to talk about something that belongs collectively to the students, like their “hats“, the way you’d write it is:

The students’ hats.”

You would not include an extra “s“. It wouldn’t be the “students’s hats“, it would just be the “students’ hats“.

Next, then, you have a plural noun that does not end in “s“, in this case, the apostrophe comes after the word, and then you do add an “s“.

So, in this case, the plural for “man” is “men“, and you want to talk about the “men’s meeting“, so you put the word “menapostrophes“, and “meeting“.

So, in the first one, it’s a plural noun that ends in “s“, you just put the apostrophe and you’re done. In the second one, the plural does not end in “s“, so you add the apostrophe, then the “s”, and what’s possessed.

And then, finally, if you’ve got a singular noun, it ends with the apostrophe “s” basically, so a singular noun, like our first one up here, we have a plural noun, but the singular of “students” is “student“, and we want to talk about one student’s hat, then we put the word “studentapostrophe “s” “hat“, so it mimics this rule here, number two. So, a singular noun, you end with apostrophe “s“.

The student’s hat.” With an apostrophe and then an “s“.

For names that end in “s“, proper names, things like that, you don’t have to add another “s” at the end, but it is customary to do so. So, when you talk about the “Jones’s house“, or “Texas’s weather“, the way you do it is the word “Texas” apostrophe “s“, “weather“. Now, it would be fine, it would be acceptable if you just put “Texas” apostrophe “weather“,  and people would know it means “Texas’s weather“. And the same with “Jones“. The “Jones’s house“, you would put “Jones” apostrophe “s“, or you could put “Jones” and then apostrophe, either would be acceptable, so it’s not required to put the extra “s“,
but it is customary. Now, you never use an apostrophe when you’re just talking about like the “Jones’s” themselves, in the plural. “The Jones’s went to Africa.”

In that case, you put “Jones” and then “es“. You don’t put an apostrophe there at all. But anyway, in terms of apostrophes in possession, just to review and hopefully make it clear. If it’s a plural noun that ends in “s“, all you do is put the apostrophe on the end.

“Students’ hats.” If it’s a plural noun that does not end in “s“, then you put an apostrophe “s“.

“Men’s meeting.”

“Mice’s feet.”

If it’s a singular noun, then you just put the noun apostrophe “s” to show possession. With formal things, like “Jones” and “Texas“, just an apostrophe at the end is fine, but if you put an apostrophe “s“, that would actually be more customary.

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