Rules for Possessive Apostrophes

An apostrophe is use with letters in showing possession or ownership. If you want to know more about possessive apostrophes, this page will guide you and will give more details about it.

Possessive Apostrophe Rules

In most singular nouns, what you need to do is to add apostrophe with the letter “s”. Keep in mind that an apostrophe with the letter “s” is never included to make plural noun even it is added with proper noun.

For example:

Incorrect: This is Peters shoes.

(Possessive form needs apostrophe)

Correct: This is Peter’s shoes.

(Apostrophe of possession)

Incorrect: She ate three hot dog’s in the office.

(This is not possessive, you should not make apostrophe in making noun plural.)

Correct: She ate three hot dogs in the office.

Incorrect: I saw Peter’s in the office.

(This is not possessive, you should not make apostrophe in making noun plural.)

Correct: I saw Peters in the office.

possessive apostrophe rulesIn addition, if singular noun is ending with “s”, you need to add apostrophe “s” especially, if extra syllable will be pronounce. If it is not pronounced or you think it is confusing to add the apostrophe “s”, then what you need is to add an apostrophe. Here are examples to check punctuation:

The clothes’s hem

(added syllable is being pronounced)

Dennis Bridge’s son

(Added syllable is not being pronounced)

Take note: Some authorities add only an apostrophe to words ending with “s”, regardless of the pronunciation. With this, it is acceptable. Keep in mind that whatever standard you are following, you need to be consistent. For instance:

The clothes’ hem

(word ends with the letter “s” and the pronunciation will not matter.)

Grammar Fixer: Tip for Possessive Apostrophe

possessive apostrophes

Check this example:

  • The girl’s shoes are on the desk, and
  • The girls’ shoes are on the desk?

The position of apostrophe in noun indicating possession of a something causes problems for EFL and ESL learners. The rules for apostrophes are very simple. What you need to do is to decide whether possessive noun is plural or singular as well as whether or not it will end in “s”.

Here are the rules that will apply:

  • Rule one: If possessive noun is singular, then you need to add apostrophe plus “s”.
  • Rule two: If possessive noun is not ending with the letter “s”, then you always need to add apostrophe plus “s”.
  • Rule three: If possessive noun ends with the “s” and it is plural, what you only need to do is to add apostrophe.

apostrophe of possessionThis is the reason why you just write Peter’s shoes, children’s shoes and boss’s shoes. This means that you will not know whether a thing belongs to 1 or numerous groups until you will see the sentence itself. In simplifying the rules for apostrophes in names, you just need to remember the rule three. If you think that rule three doesn’t apply, then you only need to add the apostrophe plus “s”.

Begin to know effectively about possessive apostrophe with the help of this page. Make sure that you carefully understand it to know how you correctly apply the apostrophe.

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