This series will systematically explore the major rules for using an apostrophe. Hopefully, these rules will make it a little more clear what situations require the use of the apostrophe, and which ones do not.
Let’s start with a couple of the easiest and most straightforward rules.
For most singular nouns, add an apostrophe and –s to form the possessive. This includes most words that end in –s.
Lucas’s pocket knife
>>Exception: In the following situations, the possessive form may be achieved by adding only the apostrophe:
1) Ancient proper names ending in –es.
2) The name Jesus.
3) Expressions such as for conscience’ sake.
for goodness’ sake
Add an apostrophe and –s to form the possessive of indefinite pronouns.
What is an indefinite pronoun, you ask? The following chart contains just a few of them:
no one’s fault
>>Note: Do not add an apostrophe to possessive pronouns (his, hers, its, ours, theirs, yours) or to the pronoun whose.
This dress is hers. (correct)
This dress is her’s. (incorrect)
Watch out for its claws. (correct)
Watch out for it’s claws. (incorrect)
Okay, that’s it for the first part. Check back on Monday for a discussion of plural nouns and other fun stuff!
7/18 - Apostrophes: Singular Nouns and Indefinite Pronouns <you are here>