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SCUA The Society for the Correct Use of the Apostrophe. MOTTO It’s seldom we see its proper use. A Facebook Ad - October 2010. IS TV AT IT’S BEST. Sign on meeting/conference room door of Tryon Branch Library, Pensacola, FL. UWF Writing Lab Rules of Thumb for Possessives/Apostrophes.

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Scua the society for the correct use of the apostrophe l.jpg
SCUAThe Society for the Correct Use of the Apostrophe

MOTTO

It’s seldom we see its proper use.





Uwf writing lab rules of thumb for possessives apostrophes l.jpg

UWF Writing Lab Library, Pensacola, FLRules of Thumb for Possessives/Apostrophes

from

Real Good Grammar, Too

by Mamie Webb Hixon


First rule of thumb l.jpg
First Rule of Thumb Library, Pensacola, FL

  • DO NOT use an apostrophe to make a noun plural

  • INCORRECTCORRECT

    modem’s modems

    cell phone’s cell phones

    computer’s computers

    Venetian blind’s Venetian blinds

    the cleaner’s the cleaners

    used textbook’s used textbooks

    mortgage’s mortgages

    policies’ policies

    notebook’s notebooks

    test result’s test results



Use only an s or es to form the plural of a proper noun l.jpg
Use only an –s or –es to form the plural of a proper noun.

  • The Simpsons

  • Keeping up with the Joneses

  • the Kennedys

  • the Harrises

  • Several Johnsons, Smiths, and Lopezes in the city directory

  • Two Gladyses in my lit class

  • the two Justins

  • Six Grammys, five Oscars, and two Tonys



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Familiar apostrophe usage noun.

  • Rosemary’s Baby

  • Charlie Wilson’s War

  • Hell’s Kitchen

  • Big Mama’s House

  • Grey’s Anatomy

  • A Knight’s Tale

  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

  • Murphy’s Law


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Second Rule of Thumb: noun.The apostrophe has three common uses.

  • In Contractions

    Y’all (NOT Ya’ll) FOR You all

    doesn’t FOR does not

  • School’s out! FOR School is out!

  • For Omissions

    ‘08 and ‘09

    ‘til the end of time

  • For Possessives

    Charlie’s Angels

    Charles’s hamster


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What is a possessive? noun.

  • A possessive is a word that uses an apostrophe to show ownership.

    • The two boys’ bikes

    • The turtle’s shell

    • My mother’s recipe

    • Tess’s scarf

    • California’s governor

    • My parents’ permission


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What do possessives look like? noun.

  • Possessives almost always have an apostrophe. This apostrophe usually replaces the prepositions of, by, with, or for.


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Third Rule of Thumb noun.Writers use the apostrophe to substitute for the preposition of, by, with, or for:

  • a doctor’s appointment (appointment with the doctor)

  • a week’s notice (notice of one week)

  • the children’s toys (toys for the children)

  • Presidents’ Day (Day for [two] Presidents)

  • the boss’s desk (desk of the boss)

  • Sophocles’ plays (plays by Sophocles)


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What do possessives look like? noun.

  • Sometimes an apostrophe is not used (e.g. possessive pronouns and plurals that do not show ownership).

  • theirs, NOT their’s

  • several countries, NOT several country’s








Do not use an apostrophe l.jpg

For possessive pronouns: noun.

its

whose

yours

theirs

ours

hers

For plurals:

The Simpsons

the Joneses

The Kennedys

dictionaries

bonuses

Two Hillarys in my class

Do NOT use an apostrophe


How does someone make a noun possessive l.jpg
How does someone make a noun possessive? noun.

  • Some possessives require an apostrophe and an -s.

    - Singular nouns: the mayor’s views (Exceptions include ancient proper names ending in –es and such expressions as for conscience’ sake.)

    - Plural nouns that do not end in –s: children’s hospital

  • Some possessives require only an apostrophe.

    - Plural nouns that end in –s: the Joneses’ van


Use the apostrophe and s in these instances l.jpg
Use the apostrophe and – noun.s in these instances:

  • For singular nouns before plural nouns or other singular nouns: attorney’s fees, the book’s editor

  • For singular nouns ending in –s: Bill Gates’s computer OR Bill Gates’ computer (unless the pronunciation is distorted: Ulysses’ computer, NOT Ulysses’s computer)

  • For plural nouns not ending in –s: the people’s court, women’s rights

  • For time periods: 1900’s OR 1900s(optional)

  • For plurals of initials and abbreviations: two Ph.D’s on the faculty; several TV’s or TVs (optional)


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Use the apostrophe and – noun.s in these instances:

  • For indefinite pronouns: nobody’s business

  • For joint ownership: Ted and Jane’s wedding

  • For individual ownership: Ted’s and Jane’s wedding rings

  • For compound singular nouns: the lieutenant governor’s staff

  • For compound plural nouns: my brothers-in-law’s jobs


Joint ownership l.jpg
JOINT OWNERSHIP noun.

  • The Diva and the Diplomat:

    Aretha and Condi’s Duet


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Use the apostrophe and – noun.s in these instances:

  • For words with fixed apostrophes: bachelor’s degree, bachelor’s degrees

  • For plural of letters, numbers and symbols: 3’s and A’s

  • For words used as words: too many wherefore’s in legalese

  • For contractions: it’s (it is), who’s (who is), you’re (you are), they’re (they are)

    • Notice that these are not possessives.


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Use only an apostrophe in these instances: noun.

  • For plural nouns ending in –s: the Joneses’ van, my parents’ divorce, both students’ papers, all instructors’ grades, the Beatles’ first hit, my two cents’ worth, the pundits’ opinions versus the experts’ opinions

  • To form the possessive of some singular nouns ending in –s: Jesus’ teachings, Sophocles’ plays, Keats’ poems OR Keats’s poems


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What else should someone know about possessives? noun.

  • When forming compound words and words that show joint possession, only the last word is made possessive (unless the second word is a possessive pronoun).

    • Mary Ann and Rebekah’s birthday party

    • Greg’s and my idea

  • A possessive noun or pronoun should be used when preceding a gerund.

    • I am tired of your making excuses.


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Examples of a possessive noun or pronoun preceding a gerund noun.:

  • my going to college

  • your coming to class

  • David’s leaving early

  • Philip’s being on time

  • your giving a report


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Use the possessive case for some inanimate objects. noun.

  • today’s paper

  • the university’s commencement speaker

  • your paper’s topic

  • her hair’s texture

  • the novel’s theme

  • the church’s mission statement


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Omit the possessive in these instances: noun.

  • computer monitor

  • sports page

  • civil rights movement

  • state government

  • special news report

  • a student rally and protest

  • humanities scholar

  • a Florida Gator

  • beach resorts

  • the Peter Principle


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Omit the possessive in these instances: noun.

  • animal shelter

  • insurance coverage

  • the O.J. Simpson trial

  • White House correspondent

  • senior citizen discount

  • UWF Honors Program

  • Arts and Sciences Council

  • the Bush administration

  • family reunion

  • new jobs report


Incorrect possessive omissions l.jpg
Incorrect Possessive Omissions noun.

  • Driving my momma car

  • Joyce brother graduation

  • Dr. Yeager class

  • Professor Smith class

  • My husbands job

  • My parents consent


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Let’s Practice!!! noun.-Notice the way the following possessives should be punctuated.

  • As a complaint clerk for the city, he handles peoples complaints and requests.

    • …PEOPLE’S COMPLAINTS…

  • Mr. Hill’s grandmother stepped out of her grandsons 1952 Ford at the corner of Seventh Street and Peach Tree Avenue.

    • …GRANDSON’S 1952 FORD…

  • My three little girls favorite cartoon comes on very early Saturday morning.

    • …GIRLS’ FAVORITE…

  • A sale of childrens’ and mens’ Dingo boots doesn’t happen regularly.

    • …CHILDREN’S AND MEN’S…


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Let’s Practice a Little More… noun.

  • David’s and Kevin’s classroom is on the right at the end of the hall.

    • DAVID AND KEVIN’S…

  • Brent and Brian’s report cards were smudged and torn.

    • BRENT’S AND BRIAN’S…

  • The three musketeer’s swords are fine, fast, and fancy.

    • THE THREE MUSKETEERS’ SWORDS…

  • My sister-in-laws’ child-rearing practices leave much to be desired.

    • MY SISTER-IN-LAW’S CHILD-REARING…

  • My brother keeps his bachelors degree framed in his office.

    • …BACHELOR’S DEGREE…


Almost there l.jpg
Almost There… noun.

  • On my last report card, I received two As, one B, and two Cs.

    • …A’s…C’s.

  • There are too many maybes in his report.

    • …MAYBE’S…

  • The hospital has four M.D.s on staff today.

    • …M.D.’s…

  • Whose your favorite actor in Hollywood?

    • WHO’S… (Note that this is not a possessive).

  • I am excited about you addressing the assembly.

    • …YOUR ADDRESSING…


Last ones l.jpg
Last Ones!!! noun.

  • Florida expects its’ students to speak and write well.

    • …ITS STUDENTS…

  • Ed drove the Harrises’ home from the Joneses party.

    • …HARRISES…JONESES’ PARTY.


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