Rules for Using Apostrophes
Apostrophes are used to show possession or omission.
- When writing contractions, place the apostrophe where the letter or letters are omitted. Examples: won't, can't, you're wrong, he's a great dentist.
- Singular possession requires an apostrophe before the "s." Examples: cat's dish, Bob's pen, Marco's book.
- To show plural possession, first make the word plural and then add an apostrophe. Examples: three cats' dishes, six men's shoes, five dogs' bones.
- Do not use an apostrophe to show that a name is plural or with possessive pronouns. For example, it is incorrect to write: "Sincerely your's" or "We saw the Martin's at the movie."
- When writing capital letters and numbers as nouns, do not use an apostrophe. Examples: He earned two MBAs. We looked up the 1960s in the encyclopedia. That happened in the mid '90s.
- When the contraction for "it is" is written, it looks like this: "it's." The possessive form (its) is the exception to the rule of using an apostrophe to show possession.
- Other exceptions occur in cases in which not using the apostrophe will cause confusion. For example: "There were six i's in the paragraph." Without the apostrophe it would look like this: "There were six is in the paragraph."