Avançado 6. The Apostrophe


 The apostrophe has three uses:
1) to form possessives of nouns,
2) to show the omission of letters,
3) to indicate plurals of letters, numbers and symbols.

But do NOT use apostrophes for possessive pronouns or for noun plurals.
1. To show possession:
To see if you have a possessive, turn the phrase around and make it an "of the..." phrase: the boy's hat = the hat of the boy / three days' journey = journey of three days
To place the apostrophe correctly to show possession:
• add 's to the singular form of the word (even if it ends in -s):
the owner's car / James's hat
• add 's to the plural forms that do not end in -s: the children's
game / the geese's honking
• add ' to the end of plural nouns that end in -s: houses' roofs / three friends' letters
• add 's to the end of compound words: my brother-in-law's money
• add 's to the last noun to show joint possession of an object: Todd and Anne's apartment.

CAUTION: If the noun after "of" is a building, an object, or a piece of furniture, then no apostrophe is needed! Examples: room of the hotel = hotel room / door of the car = car door / leg of the table = table leg

2. To show omission of letters
In contractions one or more letters (or numbers) have been omitted, and the apostrophe shows this omission. Contractions are common in speaking and in informal writing. Examples: don't = do not / I'm = I am / he'll = he will / who's = who is / '60 = 1960

3. To form plurals of letter, numbers, and symbols: two A's = two letters that happen to both be A
• Example: Nita got A's in her biology quizzes. / six 5's = six numbers that are each 5
• Example: There are six 5's on my license plate. / many &'s = many symbols that look like &
• Example: That printed page has too many &'s on it.

Don't use apostrophes for possessive pronouns or for noun plurals.
His, her, its, my, yours, ours are possessive pronouns:
• wrong: his' book / correct: his book
• wrong: The group made it's decision. / correct: The group made its decision.
(It's raining out = it is raining out. It's is a contraction for "it is.")
• wrong: a friend of yours' / correct: a friend of yours
• wrong: She waited for three hours' to get her ticket. / correct:
She waited for three hours to get her ticket.

Proofreading strategies to try:
A good time to proofread is when you have finished writing the paper.
Try the following strategies:
If you tend to leave out apostrophes, check every word that ends in - s or -es to see if it needs an apostrophe.
If you put in too many apostrophes, check every apostrophe to see if you can justify it with a rule for using apostrophes.

Exercise
Punctuate the following sentences with apostrophes according to the rules for using the apostrophe.
1. Whos the partys candidate for vice president this year?
2. The fox had its right foreleg caught securely in the traps jaws.
3. Our neighbors car is an old Chrysler, and its just about to fall apart.
4. In three weeks time well have to begin school again.
5. Didnt you hear that theyre leaving tomorrow?
6. Whenever I think of the stories I read as a child, I remember Cinderellas glass slipper and Snow Whites wicked stepmother.
7. We claimed the picnic table was ours, but the Smiths children looked so disappointed that we found another spot.
8. Its important that the kitten learns to find its way home.
9. She did not hear her childrens cries.
10. My address has three 7s, and Tims phone number has four 2s.
11. Didnt he say when he would arrive at Arnies house?
12. Its such a beautiful day that Ive decided to take a sun bath.
13. She said the watch Jack found was hers, but she couldnt identify the manufacturers name on it.
14. Little girls clothing is on the first floor, and the mens department is on the second.
15. The dogs bark was far worse than its bite.
16. The moons rays shone feebly on the path, and I heard the insects chirpings and whistlings.
17. Theyre not afraid to go ahead with the plans, though the choice is not theirs.
18. The man whose face was tan said that he had spent his two weeks vacation in the mountains.
19. My professors advice was to try to get at least two As.
20. Johns 69 Ford is his proudest possession.


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