What Are Apostrophes? (with Examples)An apostrophe (') is a punctuation mark used:
(1) To replace a missing letter or letters.
(2) To show the possessive form of a noun.
(3) In time expressions.
(4) To show an awkward plural.
(1) Use an apostrophe to replace missing letters.
- can't (The apostrophe replaces no in cannot.)
- isn't (The apostrophe replaces o in is not.)
- don't (The apostrophe replaces o in do not.)
(2) Use an apostrophe to create the possessive form of a noun.In these examples, the possessive noun is highlighted.
- The fire fighters' code
- The women's hat
- The dog's dinner (one dog, one dinner)
- The dogs' dinners (several dogs, several dinners)
- The dogs' dinner (several dogs, one dinner)
(3) Use an apostrophe in a time expression.
- One minute's notice
- Two minutes' silence
- One day's pay
- Five weeks' holiday
Do not use an apostrophe every time you use a time word (e.g., minute, days, week, weeks, month, months).
- In five weeks', I will rule the world! (In five weeks )
- One minute of notice
- Two minutes of silence
- One day of pay
- Five weeks of holiday
(4) Use an apostrophe to shown an awkward plural.It is not a popular convention, but all the leading grammar references condone using an apostrophe to show an awkward plural.
- You use too many and's in your writing.
- There are two i's in Hawaii.
- There were three SOS's sent.
- BUY TWO CD'S FOR THE PRICE OF ONE (This practice is particularly useful when only capital letters can be used.)
Do not use an apostrophe to show a normal plural. That is definitely unacceptable!
- You need to two ripe banana's to make this cake. (bananas )
- I am seeing lots of new bird's in my garden these days. (birds )
A Quick Test
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