I got a question from John out in the Peanut Gallery about the appropriate use of the “inverted comma.”
First off, John, that thing that looks like an upside-down comma is called an apostrophe. And as you have correctly noticed, sometimes it comes before the letter S, and sometimes it comes after the letter S when forming a possessive.
Here are the rules about using apostrophes with an S:
#1: Do not use an apostrophe to indicate a plural.
Bad Example: Open Sunday’s
Good Example: Open Sundays
#2: If the possessor is singular and does not end with the letters S, X, or Z, then you can use ‘S to form the possessive.
Example: Sunday’s weather is supposed to be sunny and warm.
#3: If the possessor is singular and does end with the letters S, X, or Z, then you only use an apostrophe to form the possessive (no S needed).
Examples: Japex’ and Invensys’ CEOs will be attending AAPG in Houston.
#4: If the possessor is plural and does not end with the letters S, X, or Z, use ‘S to form the possessive.
Example: The children’s toys were all over the floor.
#5: If the possessor is plural and does end with the letters S, X, or Z, use S’ to form the possessive.
Example: The students’ grades on this test were much better than on the last one.
#6: Possessive pronouns do not have any apostrophes.
Examples: his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs, whose
There’s another use of ‘S that’s a contraction (it’s not a possessive):
Three examples in the sentence above:
There is => There’s
That is => That’s
It is => It’s
Although it’s so small, the apostrophe’s a very versatile bit of punctuation!
Profound Quote of the Day:
“You always pass failure on your way to success.”
Mickey Rooney, American actor, 1920-2014