As you might already know, the apostrophe serves two primary functions:
1. Creating a contraction such as don't, shouldn't, couldn't, and wouldn't. In these instances, the apostrophe is a place marker for the letter that you removed.
2. Showing possession.
Today's focus will be on possession
(hence the title of the blog post).
Place the apostrophe AFTER the S if...
- Your noun ends in S
- Let's say you know a man by the last name of Jones (first name Indiana). If you wish to talk about something belonging to Indiana Jones, put the apostrophe after the S that's already in his last name.
- Example: Indiana Jones' backyard was filled with so much dog poop that the entire street smelled like a kennel.
- Your noun is plural, so it already ends in S.
- Let's say I wanted to talk about a GROUP of kids and their fruit-snack-eating ways.
- Example: The kids' teeth were rotten because they ate too many fruit snacks. (This scenario would never happen because fruit snacks are life.)
Place the apostrophe BEFORE the S if...
- Your noun ends in S
- Since the English language is confusing and weird, some people like to say, "The Jones's backyard was filled with so much dog poop that the entire street smelled like a kennel." Personally, I prefer an apostrophe after one S, not an apostrophe wedged between two of them. Just know that some people disagree with me; however, either method is (technically) correct.
- Your noun is singular
- Example: Angelina Jolie's leg looked pretty ridiculous constantly protruding from the slit in her dress.
- Example: That kid's teeth were rotten because he ate too many fruit snacks. (I'm talking about just ONE kid, so the apostrophe comes before the S.)
Important Note: It's and its throw a wrench into this whole rule. Most people equate apostrophes with possession; however, it's is the contraction (it is), and its shows possession.
IT'S EX: It's really difficult to use the public restroom if it's very quiet.
ITS EX: My dog chases its tail every day.
Does this information help? Do you need a mini lesson on another grammar concept?
Please let me know in the comments section!