The apostrophe is a punctuation mark. In English it has two main functions: it marks omissions, and it assists in marking the possessives of nouns and some pronouns. Below are some examples:

Apostrophe showing possession:

  • Jim's hair - the hair belonging to Jim
  • cat's whiskers - the whiskers belonging to the cat
  • sister's car - car belonging to the sister
  • Mr. Jones's house - the house belonging to Mr. Jones

Exceptions - Do not use the apostrophe for possessive pronouns. For example:

  • The group brought its van.
  • The book is hers.
  • The book is Jim's.

  • The group brought it's van.
  • It is his' book.
  • Its going to be a long day.

Apostrophe showing omission:
  • Can't - from cannot
  • I'll - from I will
  • It's - from it is
  • '70s - from 1970s
  • 'twas - from it was
  • gov't - from government

The following video explains the proper use of apostrophes:

Last modified: Thursday, 14 June 2012, 4:19 PM