Rhetoric and Composition/Apostrophes
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- Apostrophes are used to indicate possession and in contractions.
- Add an 's when the noun does not end in an "s" (driver's) or when the noun is singular and ends in an "s" (Lois's).
- However, if the pronunciation of a word would be awkward with the "s" added, it is acceptable not to use the extra "s".
- If the noun is plural and ends in "s", you don't need to add an apostrophe (diplomas' instead of diploma's).
- Joint Possession
- If there is a compound noun, add the possessive apostrophe to the last noun.
- Example: I went to see Anthony and George's new apartment. (The apartment belongs to both Anthony and George.)
- If the compound noun indicates individual possession, add the apostrophe to both nouns.
- Example: Mary's and Brian's sense of style was quite different. (Mary and Brian have individual senses of style.)
- Compound Nouns
- If a compound noun uses dashes, place the apostrophe after the last nouns.
- Example: My brother-in-law's house
- Do not use apostrophes in nouns that are not possessive. Example: Some parent's are more strict than mine. (Apostrophe is not necessary)
- Do not use an apostrophe in possessive pronouns such as its, whose, his, hers, ours, yours, and theirs.