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Apostrophes Dr. Karen Petit Uses of Apostrophes Apostrophes are used for: Possession with nouns
Possession with indefinite pronouns Contractions A quote inside a quote
Plural numbers and letters Missing parts of a slang word Possession with Nouns The words of and belonging to can show the possession (ownership) of one noun by a different noun. The lights of the room illuminated a book belonging to Joe. On the table were ten books belonging to the
other students. An apostrophe with an s also shows possession. The rooms lights illuminated Joes book. On the table were the other students ten books. Possession with Singular Nouns To show possession with singular nouns, an apostrophe and an s are added to the person or thing acting as the possessor. The students book was on Marys desk. Even if the objects being possessed are plural, as long as the
possessor is singular, an apostrophe and an s are still used. The students ten books were on the classrooms largest desks. Possession with Plural Nouns To add possession to plural nouns, a writer can begin by first spelling out all of a sentences singular and plural nouns. The lights of the room illuminated the two books belonging to Joe. Then possession should be added:
1. If the possessive noun has no s for its last letter, both an apostrophe and an s should be added. The rooms lights illuminated Joes two textbooks. Joes children brought their books as they walked into the room. Joe placed his childrens books next to his own textbooks. 2. If the possessive noun has an s, just an apostrophe is added.
On a different table were some other students books. Possession with Indefinite Pronouns An apostrophe and an s show possession for an indefinite pronoun (anyone, anybody, everyone, everybody, no one, nobody, someone, somebody). Someones book is on the shelf. Everyones books are on the desk.
Possession with Personal Pronouns Even though an apostrophe is used with possessive nouns, no apostrophe is used with possessive personal pronouns (my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their). Singular possessive noun: Joes books are on the desk. Singular possessive pronoun: His books are on the desk. Plural possessive noun: Two students books are on the desk.
Plural possessive pronoun: Their books are on the desk. Contractions Contractions use apostrophes to show where a missing letter(s) could be placed in a more formal, longer version. Mary and Joe cant believe the fun theyve been having while reading their textbooks. Theyre planning on reading more books over the summer. A Quote Inside of a Quote Single quotation marks can indicate a quotation inside of a quotation.
In his paper, Joe Smith wrote, Ayn Rand must have been thinking about pictures and words when she said, Words are a lens to focus ones mind. Plural Numbers and Letters Both an apostrophe and an s are used to make numbers and letters plural.
4s were added to the first line, and Bs were deleted from the second line. Missing Parts of a Slang Word An apostrophe can show where missing letters have been taken out of slang (an informal version of a word or phrase). nothing for my birthday informal: nothin 4 my bday formal:
More Information The Writing Center at the Community College of Rhode Island has more online resources. Contact Information This presentation is the creation of Dr. Karen Petit Community College of Rhode Island 400 East Avenue
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