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Apostrophe s vs. s Apostrophe: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 23, 2024
Apostrophe s ('s) is indicates possession for singular nouns or plural nouns not ending in s. s Apostrophe (s') shows possession for plural nouns that already end in s.
Apostrophe s vs. s Apostrophe

Key Differences

Apostrophe s ('s) is used for singular nouns to denote possession, showing that something belongs to the noun. For instance, in "the dog's bone," it indicates that the bone belongs to the dog. s Apostrophe (s'), on the other hand, is used with plural nouns that already end in 's', to denote possession without adding an extra 's'. For example, "the dogs' owner" implies the owner of multiple dogs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024
When dealing with singular nouns that don't end in 's', Apostrophe s ('s) is the correct form, as in "the cat's whiskers." However, for plural nouns that end in 's', s Apostrophe (s') is used. For example, "the cats' toys" refers to toys belonging to several cats.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024
In cases of singular proper nouns ending in 's', Apostrophe s ('s) can still be applied, like "James's book." Conversely, s Apostrophe (s') is used for plural proper nouns ending in 's', such as in "the Williams' house," referring to a house belonging to the Williams family.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024
Pronouns have their own possessive forms and don’t use Apostrophe s ('s) or s Apostrophe (s'). For instance, "its," "hers," "theirs" don't require an apostrophe. Apostrophe s ('s) is specifically for nouns, whereas s Apostrophe (s') is for plural nouns ending in s.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024
Apostrophe s ('s) can also indicate a contraction, such as in "it's" (it is) or "who's" (who is). This use is distinct from the possessive case. s Apostrophe (s') does not have a contraction function and is solely used for possessive cases.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Singular Nouns

Used for possession (e.g., "child's toy")
Not used
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Plural Nouns

Not used
Used for nouns ending in s (e.g., "dogs' kennel")
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Proper Nouns Ending in 's'

Used (e.g., "Charles's book")
Used for plural names (e.g., "the Joneses' house")
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Contraction Usage

Used (e.g., "it's" for "it is")
Not used
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Pronouns

Not used (pronouns have own possessive forms)
Not used
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024
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Apostrophe s and s Apostrophe Definitions

Apostrophe s

Singular Possession
Indicates a singular noun's ownership, e.g., The girl's book is on the table.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

s Apostrophe

Plural Proper Noun Possession
Shows possession for plural proper nouns, e.g., The Smiths' house.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Apostrophe s

Irregular Plural Possession
For nouns where plural form doesn't end in s, e.g., The children's playground.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

s Apostrophe

Plural Possession
Indicates possession by plural nouns ending in s, e.g., The players' locker room.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Apostrophe s

Contraction for has
Indicates possession or completion, e.g., He's finished his work.
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Jan 13, 2024
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s Apostrophe

Collective Noun Possession
For collective nouns ending in s, e.g., The species' habitat.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Apostrophe s

Singular Proper Noun Possession
Shows possession by a proper noun, e.g., Alice's car is new.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

s Apostrophe

Historical Usage
Older texts use this for singular nouns ending in s, e.g., Jesus' teachings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Apostrophe s

Contraction for is
Replaces 'is', e.g., It's raining.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

s Apostrophe

Joint Possession
Indicates collective ownership by a group, e.g., The teachers' lounge.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 13, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

When should I use 's?

Use 's for singular nouns to show possession, like "dog's bone," or for contractions like "it's" meaning "it is."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

When do I use s'?

Use s' for plural nouns ending in s to indicate possession, such as "dogs' owner."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

How do I show possession for a singular noun ending in s?

You can use 's, like "James's book."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Is s' used for singular nouns?

No, s' is only for plural nouns that already end in s.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

What about plural proper nouns ending in s?

Use s', as in "the Harrises' home."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

How do I show possession for a name like Charles?

You can use 's, as in "Charles's bike."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Is s' ever used in contractions?

No, s' is only used for possession.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

How do I use s' with separate ownership?

Use 's with each noun, like "Alice's and Bob's cars."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Can 's be used after plural nouns?

No, 's is for singular nouns or singular proper nouns.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

What if a plural noun doesn’t end in s?

Add 's, like "children's toys."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Are there exceptions to these rules?

Usage can vary, especially with classical or biblical names.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

How do I use 's with joint ownership?

Add 's to the last noun, like "Alice and Bob's house."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Can I use 's for plural nouns not ending in s?

Yes, like "women's rights."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Does 's indicate a contraction?

Yes, it can indicate contractions like "she's" for "she is."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Is it correct to use 's with pronouns?

No, pronouns have their own possessive forms like "hers" or "its."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Can I use 's with inanimate objects?

Yes, like "the car's engine."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Do I always add 's for singular possession?

Generally yes, except for possessive pronouns.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Is the apostrophe always necessary for possession?

Yes, except for possessive pronouns.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

How does 's work in historical contexts?

Older texts might use 's differently, like "Jesus' teachings."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

Can s' be used for singular possession?

Traditionally no, but some modern style guides allow it for clarity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 23, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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