Teaching Witing : The Use of apostrophes


Infographics Owl English Purdue

The apostrophe is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritical mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet or certain other alphabets. In English, it serves three purposes:

  • The marking of the omission of one or more letters (as in the contraction of do not to don’t).
  • The marking of possessive case (as in the cat’s whiskers, or in one month’s time).
  • The marking by some as plural of written items that are not words established in English orthography (as in P’s and Q’s). (This is considered incorrect by others; see Use in forming certain plurals. The use of the apostrophe to form plurals of proper words, as in apple’sbanana’s, etc., is universally considered incorrect.)

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