The Apostrophe

We use the apostophe ( ' ) to create contractions or form possessive case of nouns.

Examples of contractions:

  • She hasn't (=has not) visited her parents for a few months.
  • Mike didn't (=did not) remind me of the appointment.

Examples of possessive case of a noun:

  • My brother's birthday is drawing nearer and nearer.
  • The child's toys collectincluded a teddy bear and a plastic dinosaur.

In order to form the possessive case of a plural noun ending with an "s", simply add an apostrophe after the "s".


  • One of the drivers' main problems are the high gas prices.
  • My grandparents' house was sold shortly after she died.

It is a very common mistake among ESL students (and sometimes native speakers as well) to use an apostrophe to create possessive pronouns. For example:

  • The dog was on the lawn, wagging it's tail.

"it's" is the contraction of "it is". That's why:

  • The dog was on the lawn, waging its tail.

Now, this is correct.

Similarly, the other possesive pronouns are "hers", "yours", and "theirs".