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The Apostrophe


Proper Use of the Apostrophe to Form Possessives

In possessives, the placement of the apostrophe depends on whether the noun that shows possession is singular or plural. Generally, if the noun is singular, the apostrophe goes before the s.

Example:

• The witch's broom.

If the noun is plural, the apostrophe goes after the s.

Example:

• The witches' brooms.

However, if the word is pluralized without an s, the apostrophe comes before the s.

Example:

• He entered the men's room with an armload of children's clothing.

If you create a possessive with a phrase like of the witches, you will use no apostrophe.

Example:

• the brooms of the witches.

Add 's to the singular form of the word

Example:

• The boy's hat
• John's car
• James's toy

Add 's to the plural form that does not end in -s.

Example:

• The men's league
• The mice's hole

Add ' to the end of plural nouns that end in -s.

Example:

• The houses' roofs
• 2 girls' cars

Add 's to the end of compound words.

Example:

My editor-in-chief's signature

Add 's to the last noun in the case of joint possession of an object.

Example:

• Tom and Ingrid's apartment

Note:
When a possessive pronoun ends in the letter s (hers, his, its, ours, yours, whose, and theirs), do not add an apostrophe.

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