PUNCTUATION RULES: 16 Apostrophes Rules

PUNCTUATION RULES: 16 Apostrophes Rules

In English Grammar, an apostrophe is the sign (') that is used to indicate the omission of letter/letters in a word or possessions in some words.
That's Jo's car. (That's = omission of 'i' and possession of Jo) 
I've done it. (I've = omission of 'ha') 
The following are the sixteen (16) Rules of Apostrophes: 
Rule 1.
An apostrophe is used to show possession with a singular noun by adding an apostrophe plus the letter 's.'
A woman's hat
My mother's house
Boy's dormitory

Rule 2.
An apostrophe is used to all nouns ending in an 's' by placing an apostrophe after the last 's.'
The bus's lights
The boss's wife

Rule 3.
An apostrophe is added followed by an 's' to every proper noun.
Jones's House.
Charles's car.
Texas's wine.
Fords' family.

Note: There are conflicting views about how to place an apostrophe to show possession in writing. Some believe that tere is no right answer and others believe the best way is to choose a formula and stay consistent.

Rule 4.
An apostrophe is added to the plural nouns that are formed by adding either the letter s or -es:
Boys' dormitory.
Girls' toilet.
Actresses' roles.

Rule 5.
An apostrophe is not used to make a regular noun plural.
Incorrect: Friend's are coming.
Correct: Friends are coming.
Incorrect: December has many holiday's.
Correct: December has many holidays.
Incorrect: The Wilson's are here.
Correct: The Wilsons are here.

Note: Exceptions: do's and don'ts
Example: Here are some do's and don'ts.
In that sentence, the verb do is used as a plural noun, and the apostrophe was added because the writer felt that dos was confusing. Not all writers agree; some see no problem with dos and don'ts.

Rule 6.
An apostrophe is used after many irregular Nouns (irregular nouns like 'child' which becomes plural 'children') by adding an apostrophe plus 's'.
Incorrect: Childrens' hats.
Correct: Children's hats.
Incorrect: The teeths' roots.
Correct: The teeth's roots

Rule 7.
An apostrophe is added to the plural forms of family names. For instance, if the family's name ends in s, we must add -es for the plural and add an apostrophe after '-es' to show the possession:
Incorrect: The Hastings' dog.
Correct: The Hastingses' dog.
Incorrect: The Jones' car.
Correct: The Joneses' car

Rule 8.
An apostrophe is added at the last word in the singular compound noun like 'mother-in-law)'. To show possession, an apostrophe + s is added at the end of the word.
My brother-in-law's wife is sick.
My mother-in-law's hat is marvellous.

Note: If the compound noun like 'sister-in-law' is to be made plural, form the plural first (sisters-in-law), and then use the apostrophe + s to make the possession.
Example: My two sisters-in-law's gowns are amazing.

Rule 9.
If two people possess the same item, the apostrophe + s is added after the second name only.
Jose and Maria's home is not far.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson's House.

Note: However, if one of the joint owners is written as a pronoun, use the possessive form for both.
Incorrect: Maria's and my home.
Correct: Maria's and my home.
Incorrect: He and Maria's home.
Incorrect: him and Maria's home.
Correct: His and Maria's home.

If the possessions are separate rather than joint possession, use the possessive form for both.
John's and Maria's homes are both lovely.
It means that John and Maria do not own the homes jointly.
If they own homes jointly, it will be:
John and Maria's homes are both lovely.
This means that the homes belong to both of them.

Rule 10.
An apostrophe is used in contractions where the letter or letters have been removed in a word. An apostrophe replaces a contracted part of the word.
you've, etc.

Rule 11.
An apostrophe is used after various initials, capital letters, and numbers which are used as nouns.
UN = UN's organs.
MSD = MSD's workers.
M.D. = M.D.'s students.
I made straight A's.
Maria scored six A’s, three B’s, nince C’s, and two D’s in his literature class.
The 1990s the 1990's the '90s the 90's (are all commonly used)

Rule 12.
An apostrophe is used with amounts of time or money which are sometimes used as possessive adjectives that require apostrophes.
Incorrect: Dollars payment.
Correct: Dollars' payment.
Incorrect: Three days leave.
Correct: Three days' leave
Incorrect: My two cents worth
Correct: My two cents' worth

Rule 13.
An apostrophe is not used with the personal pronouns like hers, ours, yours, theirs, its, whose, and oneself never take an apostrophe. Examples:
Incorrect: That's their's (or theirs') house.
Correct: That house is theirs.
Incorrect: This is your's (or yours') car.
Correct: This car is yours.
Incorrect: Milk is better for her's (or hers') health.
Correct: Milk is better for her health.
Incorrect: Feed a horse grain. It's better for it's (or its') health.
Correct: Feed a horse grain. It's better for its health.

Rule 14.
Before a word or number, an apostrophe is truly used as an apostrophe rather than a single quotation mark. Thus, when an apostrophe comes before a word or number, take care that it's truly an apostrophe (’) rather than a single quotation mark (‘). In other words,
Incorrect: ‘Twas the amazing night.
Correct: ’Twas the amazing night.
Incorrect: The Hotel was opened in ‘08.
Correct: The Hotel was opened in ’08.

Note. In writing, Writers should not avoid placing an apostrophe in the place of a single quotation mark or a single quotation mark in a place of an apostrophe. See examples above.
Also for, Serious writers avoid the word 'til as an alternative to until. The correct word is till, which is many centuries older than until.

Rule 15.
Apostrophes are not used to noun-derived adjectives which end in s. Writers should be aware of these false possessives, which often occur with nouns ending in s.
Incorrect: I am a United States' citizen. Correct: I am a United States citizen.
Incorrect: The New Orleans' Governor.
Correct: The New Orleans Governor.
Incorrect: I like that Beatles' songs.
Correct: I like that Beatles songs.

Note. The words New Orleans, United States, and Beatles here are used as adjectives, modifying the words citizen, Governor, and songs respectively. Thus, in English, nouns frequently become adjectives as well.

Rule 16.
An apostrophe is not added to the Nouns ending in y by changing them into '-ies'. Writers are to be aware of nouns ending in y; and don't show possession by changing the y to -ies.
Incorrect: The companies policy
Correct: The company's policy
Correct: Three companies' policies

Kachele OnlineLearn English bit by bit, and Jipe Elimu are blogs that aim at heavily interacting with  English Language Learners, English Language Teachers and General Knowledge seekers through various platforms like
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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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