‘S or S’

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
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One Response to “‘S or S’”

  1. petrocomputing Says:

    I was not aware of rule #3 pertaining to x or z. Thank you for the info Jeanne. I am officially a bit smarter.🙂
    – Jessica B, Houston

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