There are several important things to remember when using apostrophes:
- Apostrophes can replace missing letters to form a contractions eg/isn’t
- Apostrophes can show possession eg/ John’s pen
- Apostrophes are used in time expressions eg/ 2 weeks’ holiday
- Apostrophes are used in plurals of abbreviations, letters and numbers eg/3’s and 4’s
Remember: Do not add an apostrophe just because a word ends in 's'. The plural of words ending in vowels are extremely prone to this error.
Video <videos (not video’s)
Apostrophes are not used:
Apostrophes used in time expressions
Explanation: In a temporal, or time, expression, the apostrophe is positioned before the s for single units of time and after the s for multiple units of time.
Examples: I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.
2 years' house insurance.
Apostrophes used to replace letters
Explanation: An apostrophe can be used to show that a letter (or letters) is missing from a word. The use of the apostrophe in this case reflects how people speak.
Example: The weather’s bad.
Remember: Only use an apostrophe to replace a letter for informal writing such as an email, blog or text.
The following two contractions can catch you out: it's and you're. Think about what letter the apostrophe represents in these two examples:
It’s is a contraction of it is
Common contractions in English
When an apostrophe replaces a letter, a new word is formed (most often, but not always, from two words originally). The new word is called a contraction.
For example: it is contracts to it's; they would contracts to they'd
|Examples of contractions (Word doc)|
Remember: Avoid using an apostrophe to replace a missing letter in formal writing such as essays and reports. The expectation is that your writing should be as formal as possible.
You cannot invent your own contractions.