An apostrophe is a punctuation mark with multiple uses in English. It primarily indicates possession or to form contractions. Additionally, the apostrophe is also employed in poetry as a literary device to address or personify something or someone that is absent or non-human. Let’s delve into each aspect in detail.

Possessive apostrophe

  1. The possessive apostrophe is used to indicate ownership or possession. It is typically added to the end of a noun to show that the noun possesses something. The general rule for forming possessive nouns is to add an apostrophe followed by an “s” (‘s) to singular nouns, and only an apostrophe (‘), without the additional “s,” to plural nouns that already end in “s.” Here are some examples of apostrophes:
  • Singular noun: The dog’s bone.
  • Plural noun ending in “s”: The students’ books.
  • Plural noun not ending in “s”: The children’s toys.


  1. Apostrophes are used in contractions to combine two words into one by replacing omitted letters. This is commonly used in informal writing and in spoken language. Here are a few examples:
  • “I am” becomes “I’m.”
  • “Do not” becomes “don’t.”
  • “They have” becomes “they’ve.”

Rules of apostrophe

1. Possessive Nouns
  • For singular nouns: Add an apostrophe (‘s) to the singular noun to indicate possession. Example: The cat’s tail swayed gracefully.
  • For plural nouns that end in “s”: Add an apostrophe after the existing “s” to indicate possession. Example: The students’ backpacks were in the classroom.
  • For plural nouns that do not end in “s”: Add an apostrophe (‘s) to the plural noun to indicate possession. Example: The children’s toys are on the floor.
2. Contractions
  • Contractions are formed by combining two words and replacing omitted letters with it. Example: They’re (they are) going to the party.
  • Common contractions include:
    • can’t (cannot)
    • won’t (will not)
    • it’s (it is)
    • I’ll (I will)
    • she’s (she is)
3. Omission of Letters

Apostrophes can also indicate the omission of letters in a word. Example: I can’t (cannot) believe you did that.

4. Plural of Letters, Numbers, and Symbols
  • Use an apostrophe followed by “s” (‘s) to form the plural of individual letters, numbers, and symbols. Example: There are three i’s in the word “immediately.”
5. Avoiding Double Possession

Do not use an apostrophe when indicating possession after a possessive pronoun (e.g., its, hers, ours). Example: The book is hers. (not her’s)

When to use apostrophe

This section gives answers to use of apostrophe after s, or when to use apostrophe s

  1. Plural Possessive: When indicating possession for plural nouns, placed after the “s” at the end of the word. Example: The students’ notebooks filled with doodles.
  2. Singular Nouns Ending in “S”: For singular nouns that end in “s,” the general rule is to add it followed by an “s” (‘s) to indicate possession. Example: James’s car is in the driveway.
  3. Plural Nouns Not Ending in “S”: For plural nouns that do not end in “s,” used after the entire word to show possession. Example: The children’s playground is full of laughter.
  4. Irregular Plural Nouns: Some irregular plural nouns, like “children,” “men,” or “women,” do not add an “s” in the plural form. In these cases, added after the entire word. Example: The men’s soccer team won the championship.
Plural Apostrophe Examples

Plural apostrophes are used to indicate possession in plural nouns. Here are some examples of plural apostrophes:

  1. The students’ books were on the desks.
  2. The dogs’ leashes were together.
  3. The employees’ meeting will hold in the conference room.
  4. The children’s toys were neat.
  5. The actors’ performances received rave reviews.
  6. The trees’ branches were swaying in the wind.
  7. The neighbors’ houses were awesome.
  8. The teams’ jerseys were hanging in the locker rooms.
  9. The kittens’ playful antics entertained the whole family.
  10. The workers’ tools were in the shed.

In each of these examples, the apostrophe is after the plural noun to show possession or ownership by more than one entity.