Questions relating to the use of the apostrophe (’).

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69
votes
7answers
40k views

“My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner”

I just stumbled upon a Reddit post titled: My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner. How does it look? Sure enough, the top comment immediately points out that it should be "my wife's and ...
52
votes
2answers
34k views

What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in “‑s”?

What is the possessive of a noun ending in ‑s? Are these both right, or is the second one wrong? the boys' books the boss' car
45
votes
6answers
7k views

When did it become correct to add an “s” to a singular possessive already ending in “‑s”?

According to my grammar book, but at variance to the answer to this question, the correct singular possessive if a word ends in ‑s is: James’s car The grammar book allows exceptions for ...
42
votes
8answers
49k views

Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?

When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I was taught that to make a plural of an acronym, a letter, or a number, one should add an apostrophe and "s". Like I would have written this sentence, ...
34
votes
6answers
6k views

What does “day's” mean?

I understand what the sentence The house is a full day’s journey from here means, but I’m wondering what day’s is short for in this expression. It doesn’t match any pattern I know. A couple of ...
22
votes
5answers
66k views

“Do's” and “don'ts” or “do's” and “don't's”?

I am making a list to my children telling them what are some of the things they should do and shouldn't. Under one side is "do", and the other is "don't". Would I write "do's" and "don't's"? Cause ...
21
votes
3answers
113k views

“Doctor's appointment” or “doctors appointment”?

I've looked this up online, but I can't find any explanations from reasonably credible sources, so I'm posting my question here! (Was that a comma splice?) Should I refer to the appointment that I ...
20
votes
2answers
109k views

Is there an apostrophe in a master's degree?

The question asks it all really. When referring to a master's degree, do you use an apostrophe or not? That is, is it "a master's" or "a masters"?
20
votes
2answers
443 views

Use of lone apostrophe for plural?

I've been reading William Manchester's book "American Caesar", which is about Douglas MacArthur, and I found that he uses a strange convention for pluralizing the family name. When talking about the ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

How is a' in mathematics pronounced?

It often happens that two or more similar values are distinguished with the ' symbol, e.g. a, a', a'' and similar. How is this pronounced?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Possessive of a word that is already possessive

If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say "I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services"? It doesn't look right, ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why did they spell it “URL’s”?

I was reading this documentation file of some software and note the plural spelling of this abbreviation is “URL’s”. Why isn’t it “URLs”?
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is there a distinction between “its” and “it's”?

While I know technically the English language has a distinction because when there's a conflict between the possessive form and a contraction, the contraction wins. That is: Its is the possessive ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Apostrophe in “beginners guide”

In the phrase beginners guide to …, where should the apostrophe go? Beginner’s Guide to […] Beginners’ Guide to […] In my particular case, this is the title for a presentation so there are ...
15
votes
2answers
807 views

What is the correct spelling of “buyer* remorse”?

Apostrophical query: a) Buyers Remorse b) Buyer Remorse c) Buyer's Remorse d) Buyers' Remorse My guess is b or c, as it seems like any example is talking about the remorse of one specific buyer, ...
14
votes
5answers
10k views

Apostrophe-“s” vs “of ”

I gave a quick answer to part of this question which had not been covered by previous answers, trying to clarify the reason you would say time of decoding but not decoding’s time. I said it was ’s ...
13
votes
5answers
28k views

“Y'all” or “ya'll”?

I've seen it spelled both ways. Are both correct?
13
votes
3answers
20k views

Which is the correct idiom: “First thing's first” or “First things first”?

I've gotten into a debate over which usage of an apostrophe in the phrase "first thing(')s first" is correct. My thinking is that one would take the first thing and give it priority, hence the first ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Origins of possessive pronouns

If apostrophe + s is the acceptable way of denoting a genitive in English, is it possible that possessive pronouns, such as hers, ours and yours, started life as possessive adjectives with apostrophe ...
12
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the pronunciation of the possessive words that already end in s? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When did it become correct to add an ‘s’ to a singular possessive already ending in ‘s’? Which singular names ending in “s” form possessives with only a bare apostrophe? ...
11
votes
3answers
730 views

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate?

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate? For example, possessive nouns (both proper and common) are written with a apostrophe before the final s: ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it common for place names to lose their possessive apostrophe?

On a road trip, my wife and I drove by Kings Dominion. We debated whether this should in actuality be King’s Dominion. It seemed that it ought to be possessive, or possibly plural possessive. Upon ...
10
votes
5answers
554 views

Are apostrophes actually needed?

I don't mean to make it grammatically correct I mean does English need them? I can't seem to find a use case other than it's "legacy" in English, but that is never a reason to keep something around. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “ ’s ” ever correct for pluralization?

A relatively modern dictionary (I don’t know which one, because we’ve cut out the pages and used them as wallpaper in our bathroom, but I know it’s less than 20 years old) indicates that R’s is one ...
10
votes
2answers
16k views

What is the correct syntax for a plural possessive of a word already ending in s? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? Before you vote to close as a duplicate, note that these two questions deal with similar issues to this, but none ...
10
votes
5answers
20k views

What is the possessive of “you guys”?

Most people seem to stumble over this. The problem can arise with any multi-word phrase that needs a possessive but ends in S, and so sounds awkward using the clitic apostrophe-S. I've heard this ...
10
votes
3answers
340 views

What proposals have been made to give the apostrophe some relief?

The apostrophe has a lot of jobs. It makes things possessive, it indicates the omissions of letters in contractions and numbers in dates, it is used to indicate strange accents in dialog, and it ...
9
votes
3answers
47k views

“Today's assumption” or “todays assumption” — which is valid grammar?

We (non native English-speakers) are writing a paper and are wondering if the following construct is valid English: Yesterday's assumption is no longer valid. Specifically the apostrophe after ...
9
votes
4answers
889 views

What does “ 'Nation ” stand for in this context?

I was reading the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. In Chapter 2, there are sentences like: “I hope there ain’t, but can’t make so ’Nation sure of that,” said the guard, in gruff ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Preferred way to apostrophise in case of dual or multiple ownership by distinct entities [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Nikki's and Alice's X” vs. “Nikki and Alice's X” Consider describing the wedding of X and Y. If I want to avoid the overly-formal ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What rules determine the apostrophe placement in “ham 'n eggs” and similar expressions?

In expressions such as "ham 'n eggs", the conjunction 'n appears to replace and, yet there is only one apostrophe to indicate the missing a and none for the missing d (i.e., no "ham 'n' eggs"). Is ...
9
votes
1answer
862 views

Use of an Apostrophe in Maths Place Values

In mathematics, when you're discussing the concepts behind different number bases, it's often necessary to refer to a digit's place. For example, in the following "base 10" number (the number system ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Apostrophes in contractions: shan't, sha'n't or sha'nt?

I came across the word sha'n't when reading Winnie the Pooh the other day and it cast me into a Thoughtful Mood concerning the Appropriate Spelling of this word. This word is a contraction of "shall ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How did an apostrophe plus the letter “s” come to indicate possession? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origins of possessive pronouns How did English come to use "apostrophe s" to indicate possession, when it seems to me that few (if any!) other languages do (or do ...
8
votes
2answers
631 views

“Nikki's and Alice's X” vs. “Nikki and Alice's X”

Which option is grammatical? There will be readings from Nikki Giovanni’s and Alice Walker’s writings. There will be readings from Nikki Giovanni and Alice Walker's writings. Saying it ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

Apostrophes and caps in Happy Mother’s Day / Happy Mothers’ Day

So, I’m writing this as it is Mother’s (or maybe Mothers’) Day today, and I was wondering what would be a correct way to write that. Should the apostrophe come be between the r and the s, or after ...
7
votes
5answers
15k views

User’s Guide vs Users’ Guide

I’ve been looking over what has been posted regarding the use of ’s. I used to be a Technical Writer (years ago). The title of one of our training documents was Users’ Guide. Once, a coworker said ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Is “what’s” a correct short form of “what does”?

E.g. “What’s he think?” Usually ’s is short for “is” so I don’t know.
7
votes
1answer
63k views

Yours vs. your's

Which is correct “Is that yours?” or “Is that your’s?”? I ask because it is possessive, so I would think it would be the latter, but I typically use and see the former usage. Are there particular ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Should it be “one”, “ones” or “one's” in a company's slogan?

I saw a tow truck with a slogan running the length of the bed. Were the "ones" to call What drew my attention was the past tense without an apostrophe, and the inappropriate use of quotation ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

Where should the apostrophe go in “three days work”?

Which is correct? 1 Three day's work 2 Three days' work 3 Three days work I would probably guess (2) is right, since the work belongs to the three days ("three days of work"). But I'm ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Should “each” be followed by a singular or plural possessive?

If a possessive noun, which is plural, is preceded by "each", then should it use the singular or plural possessive form? For example, which of the following is correct? spend time in each other's ...
7
votes
1answer
555 views

Achilles heel and Achilles tendon

Studying possessive apostrophes I have searched on ELU the questions correlated to this matter. I have found the following: «What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s?» and ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

“2 hours' worth” or “2 hours worth”?

I think "1 hour’s worth" is the correct way to write this. Therefore, in the plural case, I assume the correct choice is "2 hours’ worth". Which one is it? Just wondering because someone edited a ...
7
votes
1answer
782 views

With the phrase “good night” do you have to use an apostrophe before the word “night” if you are to omit the use of “good?”

Am I actually contracting the phrase by omitting "good" from it, hence the need for the use of an apostrophe?
6
votes
4answers
313 views

Using apostrophes correctly

I've read a great article about the usage of apostrophes. But there are still some points that are unclear. Why do we say... school project but not school's project? car service but not car's ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How to indicate possession when using abbreviation “Dr.”

I often run into a case where I need to say I have a doctor's appointment, but how would I properly punctuate it if I wanted to use the abbreviation Dr. instead of the word doctor? Dr.'s appointment ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Do things use apostrophe for indicating possessive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is using the possessive 's correct in “the car's antenna”? If someone owns something I would say: Mom's car. But if the owner is not a person, does ...
6
votes
2answers
685 views

What does “a day's work” mean?

What does "a day's work" mean? Does it mean a full day's work? The quote below is taken from Charles Dickens' The Haunted House In the summertime, I often rise very early, and repair to my room ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

What possessive pronouns do have an apostrophe?

I was explaining it's vs. its to someone the other day, and I said "None of the pronouns (his, hers, theirs, yours, its, whose, ...) has an apostrophe." Later I got to wondering whether that was ...