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I've been confused about this as long as I can remember. Should it be:

One should do ones duty.

or

One should do one's duty.

I'm guessing it should be the latter. But that doesn't sit well with the possessive pronoun 'its'. For example:

It is its own purpose.

vs.

It is it's own purpose.

Here, the former seems clearly correct.

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1  
Corresponding question: Why doesn't “its” have an apostrophe? –  endolith May 28 '11 at 6:43
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1 Answer

up vote 25 down vote accepted

The correct answer is one's!

All possessives get an apostrophe, except the standard possessive pronouns and these are:

yours, his, hers, ours, theirs, its

Apart of these, always add an apostrophe.

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6  
@Bacon Did you see the frightened ones? (Goodbye Blue Sky) –  Phira May 21 '11 at 5:10
1  
@Bacon: And the Great Old Ones are Great Old People, too? :) –  Phira May 21 '11 at 5:21
1  
@Bacon @user9325 - The Young Ones. –  Karl May 21 '11 at 5:37
4  
@Bacon It's not so uncommon. Try these: "Son, would you like the purple ones or the blue ones?" "Wow, (pointing at animals) look at the little ones!" Saying "almost always incorrect" is incorrect. –  ErikE May 21 '11 at 7:30
1  
@endolith - 1) This is English we're talking about; you expected logic? <g> As stated in the answer, there are six "standard" (by which we mean "irregular") pronouns; apart from those, you should add an apostrophe. Try not to think too hard about why those six are different from all the others - you'll only make yourself old before your time. 2) Yes, "the young ones' music makes me angry and gives me a headache" is correct. –  MT_Head Jun 7 '11 at 7:48
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