When to Use an Apostrophe


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Mini-lesson covering basic apostrophe use for Language 101 students.

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When to Use an Apostrophe

  1. 1. When to use an Apostrophe
  2. 2. Overview In this mini-lesson we will: • Cover the basic rules of apostrophe use • Learn what the most common mistakes are and how to avoid them
  3. 3. What do you think? Apostrophe errors are not a big problem; the apostrophe is not an important punctuation mark. AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  4. 4. Apostrophes are Important! • Apostrophes enrich the English language. • Apostrophes tell the reader who owns what, singular or plural, if a word has been contracted and so on.
  5. 5. • Use apostrophes correctly to communicate clearly. • Apostrophe misuse creates a negative view of your writing.
  6. 6. Use Apostrophes to: 1. Replace missing letters. (Cannot turned into can’t) 2. Demonstrate possession. (Mary’s car)
  7. 7. Plurals Don’t add an apostrophe to make a plural word. When you are about to use an apostrophe; stop and ask yourself if the word is plural. If it is then DON’T add the apostrophe.
  8. 8. Apostrophes for Abbreviation When letters are missing from a word, use an apostrophe. *There’s (there is) a lot of rain today. *I wouldn’t (would not) go outside.
  9. 9. Can you identify the incorrect use of the apostrophe in this picture?
  10. 10. Apostrophes for Ownership Use an apostrophe to show ownership. *Mary’s hat *Michael’s book If there are multiple owners then the apostrophe goes after the ‘s’ *The dogs’ bowls *The boys’ books Chang’s tricycle
  11. 11. Its and It’s The ownership rule DOES NOT apply to the word IT. *The dog chewed its bone. Use IT’S to show the abbreviation of “it is” or “it has”. *It’s (it is) a lovely day *It’s (it has) been raining all day Oops! Can you spot the spelling and apostrophe errors in this picture?
  12. 12. Apostrophe Errors 1. Has the apostrophe been used correctly here? 2. What’s wrong with this picture?
  13. 13. Why is this incorrect?
  14. 14. Most Common Mistakes Dont Im Thats •Should be: Don’t •I’m •That’s
  15. 15. Doesnt •Doesn’t Wasnt •Wasn’t Isnt •Isn’t
  16. 16. Couldnt •Couldn’t Wouldnt •Wouldn’t Havent •Haven’t
  17. 17. Random Apostrophe Use is Rampant! “Dog’s everywhere love chewing bones” Does everywhere belong to dogs? No, so drop the apostrophe. “The dogs ate all the bone’s.” Bones is plural so drop the apostrophe. Think before you add an apostrophe!
  18. 18. Practice Can you spot the mistakes? Ludovico marveled at the many balloon basket’s he saw. Some had covered section’s, others had small rooms’. The best model’s had hardwood floors, while other’s had the finest quality marble. Barrington pointed out the smaller, strictly utilitarian baskets, used to carry the merchant’s who travelled skyward to buy and sell, the servant’s and other poor unfortunates who by necessity had to remain earth bound but whose existence relied upon providing good’s and services to the sky-dwellers. Ludovicos adventurous heart longed for one of these contraptions.
  19. 19. In this session we have: • Reviewed the fundamental rules of apostrophe use • Learned how to identify and correct apostrophe misuses. • Polished our grammar skills to become better communicators.