Understanding How to Use Apostrophe As a Punctuation Mark
- December 18, 2020
- Posted by: Victoria B. Willie
- Category: General
If you want to ace any international examination you sit for, let’s say IELTS, you have to be proficient with the use of English language and all its components. You have to know how to use words like homographs and modal auxiliary verbs that pose difficulty. You also have to know how to use apostrophe and other punctuation marks.
This is because you’ll be tested on writing and minute details like punctuation will not be as minute as you think to your examiner. Therefore, to further prepare your for this exam, here is an article that will help you understand how to use apostrophe.
So, sit back, relax and read.
And try to make mental examples yourself so you never forget how to use this punctuation mark.
How to Use Apostrophe As a Punctuation Mark
As a punctuation mark, apostrophe is mainly used to show possessions, plurals and contractions.
How to Use Apostrophe to Show Contractions
- Let’s for let us.
- Can’t for cannot.
- Couldn’t for could not.
- Won’t for would not.
- Shan’t for shall not.
- He’s for he is.
- They’ve for they have.
- It’s for it is, etc.
As a rule of thumb, you should note that ‘its‘ and ‘it’s‘ are two different things and should not be confused as the same. This is because ‘its’ is the possessive form of the pronoun ‘it’ while ‘it’s’ is the contracted form of ‘it is’.
- The dog broke its leg.
- The truth is bitter. It’s always hard to swallow.
The same applies to ‘lets’ and ‘let’s’. ‘Lets’ is a form of the verb ‘let’ which means “to allow” while ‘let’s’ is the contracted form of ‘let us’.
- Let’s pray that she lets us go to the party.
Furthermore, you should also be careful not to use contractions in formal writings. They are informal and should only be used when writing in informal contexts.
How to Use Apostrophe to Show Plurals
You use this punctuation mark to show plural when certain abbreviations, letters, or words are used as nouns.
- She had five A’s, two B’s and one C in her WASSCE.
- Always remember to cross your t’s and dot your i’s.
How to Use Apostrophe to Show Possessions
Different authorities have their rules for using this punctuation mark to show possessions. Regardless, we will look at it on a general note.
To form the possessive of a singular noun, you add an apostrophe followed by ‘s’ whether the noun ends with ‘s’ or not.
- My mother’s hen
- Jones’s book
- The woman’s husband
- a day’s job
However, there are exceptions to this rule. That is, you use only an apostrophe for singular nouns that are either in plural form or have a last word in the plural form which ends with ‘s’.
- the United States’ general election
- the Beatles’ recent song
- Ria Kosher Designs‘ latest collection
Furthermore, nouns that end in ‘s’ or with an ‘s’ sound only take an apostrophe when they are followed by sake.
- for goodness’ sake
Also, a proper noun, let’s say the name of a restaurant, that is already in possessive, should be left as it is.
- Agnes has a date at McDonald’s.
To form the possessive of a plural noun, if the noun ends in ‘s’, you add only an apostrophe. But if it ends in a letter other than ‘s’, you add both an apostrophe and the letter ‘s’.
- Those are my children’s textbooks.
- Go get some of the chickens’ feeds.
- I’ll be spending the weekend in the Willies’ apartment.
To indicate individual possession, you use an apostrophe for each person.
- The same architect designed Aniekan’s and Victoria’s houses.
That is, the speaker is referring to their individual houses.
To show shared possessives, you use a single apostrophe and ‘s’ as the case may be.
- I’ll be at Mary and James’s house by 12pm.
This is because both Mary and James own the house.
In addition, you should be careful how you use it with other punctuation marks. For example, do not let another punctuation mark separate the apostrophe from the word you are attaching it to.
Wrong: The house over there is Mr. Andikans,’ but the one here is for his brother.
Right: The house over there is Mr. Andikan’s, but the one here if for his brother.
Now that you know how to use apostrophe, why don’t you get started writing already? If you aren’t sure of the right step to take, join a preparatory class that will guide you as you prepare for IELTS.