Sunday, March 4, 2012

I OWN you.

Got your attention? Now that you're here, allow me to provide a mini lesson on appropriately placing our compadre, the apostrophe.

As you might already know, the apostrophe serves two primary functions: 

1. Creating a contraction such as don't, shouldn't, couldn't, and wouldn't. In these instances, the apostrophe is a place marker for the letter that you removed.

2. Showing possession. 

Today's focus will be on possession 
(hence the title of the blog post). 

Place the apostrophe AFTER the S if...

  • Your noun ends in S
    • Let's say you know a man by the last name of Jones (first name Indiana). If you wish to talk about something belonging to Indiana Jones, put the apostrophe after the S that's already in his last name.
    • Example: Indiana Jones' backyard was filled with so much dog poop that the entire street smelled like a kennel. 
  • Your noun is plural, so it already ends in S. 
    • Let's say I wanted to talk about a GROUP of kids and their fruit-snack-eating ways.  
    • Example: The kids' teeth were rotten because they ate too many fruit snacks. (This scenario would never happen because fruit snacks are life.) 

Place the apostrophe BEFORE the S if...
  • Your noun ends in S
    • Since the English language is confusing and weird, some people like to say, "The Jones's backyard was filled with so much dog poop that the entire street smelled like a kennel." Personally, I prefer an apostrophe after one S, not an apostrophe wedged between two of them. Just know that some people disagree with me; however, either method is (technically) correct. 
  • Your noun is singular
    • Example: Angelina Jolie's leg looked pretty ridiculous constantly protruding from the slit in her dress.  
    • Example: That kid's teeth were rotten because he ate too many fruit snacks. (I'm talking about just ONE kid, so the apostrophe comes before the S.) 

Important Note: It's and its throw a wrench into this whole rule. Most people equate apostrophes with possession; however, it's is the contraction (it is), and its shows possession.
          IT'S EX: It's really difficult to use the public restroom if it's very quiet.
          ITS EX: My dog chases its tail every day.

Does this information help? Do you need a mini lesson on another grammar concept? 
Please let me know in the comments section!

1 comment:

  1. What a great lesson that some people missed in their English grammar book's.


Feel free to throw some witticisms my way.