An apostrophe is used in contracted forms such as the following: can't, won't, didn't, he's, she'd, they're, let's. However, these contractions are not usually used in formal academic writing.

An apostrophe is also used to signal possession or ownership. Add -'s to signal possession. If the noun is a plural form ending in -s, add only an apostrophe.

her son's room (one son)

her daughters' room (two daughters, one room)

the teachers' reports (more than one teacher: plural -s)

the children's books (more than one child, but no -s for plural form)

However, apostrophes are not used with the names of buildings, objects, or pieces of furniture (the hotel pool, the car door, the table leg) or with possessive adjectives (its, yours, hers). The form "it's" is a contraction for it is or it has.



Rewrite the following phrases, using an apostrophe.


the bone belonging to the dog

the dog's bone


1. the toys belonging to the baby

2. the toys belonging to the babies

3. the problems of the teachers

4. the decision made by my family

5. the plans made by the women

6. the proposals offered by the politicians

7. the desk belonging to the secretary

8. the home belonging to the couple

9. the park belonging to the people

10. the ball belonging to the little boy

from Grammar Troublespots by Ann Raimes


This document is part of a collection of instructional materials used in the University of Arkansas Quality Writing Center. Please send questions or requests to writcent@uark.edu.


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