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Posted by Manjusha Filed in English Writing

We use apostrophes (’) for three main reasons.

Missing letters

It is used in writing a contraction to show the place of the omitted letters.

can’t (= cannot)
it’s (= it is)
I’d (= I would/had)
who’s (= who is/has)


We use apostrophes in writing most possessives.

the girl’s father
three miles’ walk
two weeks’ work
my parents’ wedding

Possessive determiners and pronouns do not have apostrophes.

  • This is yours. (NOT …your’s.)
  • Whose is that coat? (NOT Who’s …)
Special plurals

Apostrophes are used in the plurals of letters, and often of numbers and abbreviations.

  • Mind your p’s and q’s.
  • It was in the early 1960’s.

Sections in this article

Full stops, question marks and exclamation marks
Colon and semicolon
Quotation marks




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