How to Use Apostrophes Correctly

Laura Ginn

With there being so much focus on the quality of content on the web over the last year or two, there’s absolutely no doubt that punctuation has suddenly become far more important, and will continue to do so. No longer will people put up with shoddily written articles, and it appears, nor will Google. This of course, takes us neatly and perhaps with some trepidation, onto the dreaded apostrophe! Anyone wanting to produce content for the internet should be confident in producing work which not only reads well, but adheres to the strict rules of the English Language. Thankfully, with a few well remembered rules, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to produce work confidently without falling foul of English Grammar mistakes!

Omission of Letters

The first and perhaps the easiest rule to remember is that an apostrophe should be used to indicate a missing letter. This is normally present when two words are paired and are in a ‘contraction’. Examples of this are ‘you’re’, to replace ‘you are’, and ‘I’m’ to replace ‘I am’.

It’s always the case that the apostrophe is found where the letters have been omitted, and this requires concentration, because this doesn’t always fall where the two words join together.

Use of Apostrophe with S Regarding Possessives of Singular Nouns

This is often an area where people trip up, but actually the use of the apostrophe in this situation is fairly simple to understand with a bit of concentration.

You can use an apostrophe followed by the letter S to indicate a possessive singular noun. A good example would be ‘Michael’s tennis racket’. This can be used with any singular noun, to show ownership of some sort. Sometimes people are confused when the singular noun they wish to make possessive ends with an S, but this doesn’t interfere with the rule at all. You simply add the apostrophe and the S as with the previous example. For example, ‘The River Foss’s banks were breached’.

Apostrophe Delivered Without the S, For Plural Nouns.

Just as singular nouns should be followed by an apostrophe when the possessive form is present, so must they be followed by an apostrophe when it is a plural noun. The difference is, except in certain circumstances, that S is not required.

‘The boys’ football’, is a good example, because the plurality of the noun normally means the word ends in S anyway. Of course, this is not always the case when it comes to plural nouns. When the plural noun does not end in an S, the apostrophe S rule should be followed:

‘The women’s football team’

When Two Nouns Possess the Same Thing

This is another occasion when the apostrophe is followed by the S: ‘Richard and Karl’s beach house restaurant’. They both own the restaurant. However, if they both owned separate restaurants, it would be a case of providing an apostrophe for both people: ‘Richard’s and Karl’s restaurants’. This shows separate ownership.

Of course, there are a few other rules that crop up from time to time, but if you follow the above rules, you shouldn’t come unstuck too often.

If you’re still struggling, you may want to look for a team of capable and experienced copywriters to produce content for you. Here at Ink Elves, we can provide just that. Get in touch today to find out how we help you to avoid the apostrophe pitfalls!