Apostrophe Use

Apostrophe Use (`or ‘)

Apostrophe use typically shows possession and/or association. It is also specifically used to indicate when certain letters have been omitted or left out.

It can be a tricky item for those whose mother tongues change word endings to indicate singular, plural, gender, or possessive cases.

Two primary uses of the apostrophe.

Namely, contractions and possessives of nouns and pronouns.

It is also used to indicate plurals.

It comes from the Greek word (αποστροφη) which is actually a combination of (απο) and (στρεφω) which literally means ‘a turning away from’ or ‘to turn away’. Just how, exactly, it came to be used to indicate possession or missing letters in the English language is one for the Academics to argue over.


With a singular noun, the possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe (`) and then the letter “s”….

  • The dog’s tail = one dog

When a plural noun ends in s, the apostrophe comes after the s….

  • The dogs’ tails = several dogs

When a plural noun ends in a letter other than s, we add (`s) to form the possessive….

  • The children’s noses

A singular compound noun shows possession with‘s at the end of the word.

  • My mother-in-law’s book

A plural compound noun receives an ‘s after first making the plural first.

  • My two sisters-in-law’s houses

When two people possess the same item, we use the ‘s only after the second name.

  • Todd and Evi’s house is in Greece.


All contractions must contain an apostrophe in the places where one or more letters have been left out.

  • won’t, shan’t, it’s, we’re, you’re etc.

  • In the word o’clock, which means “of the clock”.

  • G’day which means “good day”.

Concerning apostrophe use click on this link. You’ll go to a page with useful information regarding apostrophe usage.