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I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.
The apostrophe mark (’) is used for three main purposes. To show that letters or numbers have been omitted, to indicate possessive forms and to mark the plurals of letters and numbers.
1) To show that one or more letters or numbers have been left out.
- She’s – for ‘she is’ or ‘she has’.
- Can’t – for ‘cannot’.
- ’85 – for ‘1985’.
2) With nouns, before or after the possessive –s ending. The main rules are:
- The boy’s mother.
- The world’s highest mountain.
- England’s climate.
b) For a plural noun which does not end in –s, use ’s
- Women’s rights.
- The children’s room.
- An old people’s home.
c) For a plural noun which ends in –s, use s’
- My parents’ car.
- Your friends’ ideas.
- Six hours’ drive.
d) You sometimes just add an apostrophe to names ending in –s, especially with singular literary or classical names.
- Dickens’ novels.
- Socrates’ works.
- Keats’ poetry.
We often pronounce a possessive ’s even when it is not written.
- Socrates’ /’sakrəti:ziz/
e) An apostrophe ’s can be added to first names ending in –s.
- Cris’s computer. /’krisiz/
- Carlos’s generosity. /’[email protected]/
- St Augustus’s church. /ɔ‘g^[email protected]/
The ending ’s is pronounced just like a plural ending – /siz/
f ) The apostrophe is also added to whole phrases.
- The man next door’s cat.
- Gary and Margaret’s daughters.
- My mother-in-law’s lasagna.
3) The plurals of letters and numbers.
- There are two t’s in ‘matter.’
- The little boy sometimes writes b’s instead of d’s.
- How many 3’s are there in nine?