Using Apostrophes

Apostrophes ( ' ) can be used for contractions or to show possession.


A contraction is a shortened form of a word (or group of words) that omits certain letters or sounds. In a contraction, an apostrophe represents missing letters.


He would = He’d.

I have = I’ve.

They are = They’re.

You cannot = You can’t.

Possessive Nouns

1. Use an apostrophe + S ('s) to show that one person/thing owns or is a member of something.


Amy's ballet class

Lisa's car

Robert's car

Ross's room

Ross's sports teams

If the name ends with a “s,” you can:

  • Add an apostrophe to the end of the singular noun: Ross’

  • Add an apostrophe + “s:” Ross’s

It makes no difference whether the item owned is singular or plural. We use "Carmen’s" to say that the book is singular (Carmen’s book) or plural (Carmen’s books).

2. Use an apostrophe after the "s" at the end of a plural noun to show possession.


The parents' bedroom

the Smiths' lives

It is not necessary to add another "s" to the end of a possessive plural noun.

3. If a plural noun doesn't end in "s," add an apostrophe + "s" to create the possessive form.

Example: The children's rooms

A possessive noun needs an apostrophe and an "s" at the end. If there's already an "s" there, you can just add the apostrophe. If there's no "s," you have to add both - first the apostrophe, and then the "s."

Try the quiz!

Check your answers (out of 10 points)!

Quiz Answers (out of 10):

  1. B, C

  2. A, B

  3. A, D

  4. C

  5. A, C, F