(') Apostrophe Rules: When to Use an Apostrophe in English 1

(‘) Apostrophe Rules: When to Use an Apostrophe in English

What is an apostrophe? What is (‘) called? Learn useful apostrophe definition, apostrophe rules, possessive apostrophe (apostrophe after s and before s) with examples and ESL image.

Big list of useful punctuation marks in English. 

Apostrophe Definition

What is an apostrophe? What is the symbol (‘) called? The symbol (‘) is called an apostrophe in the English language. It is an important punctuation mark which is often used incorrectly in English.

An apostrophe is used to show that certain letters have been omitted from a word (contractions, i.e. she’s, it’s…). The punctuation symbol can also be used to show the possessive form of a noun (possessive apostrophe, i.e. John’s books,…), in addition to indicating the plural form of lowercase letters.

When to Use an Apostrophe

Apostrophe Rules for Contractions

A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters and sounds.

The apostrophe is used to show the contraction of words in a sentence.


  • aren’t – are not
  • can’t – cannot
  • couldn’t – could not
  • didn’t – did not
  • doesn’t – does not
  • don’t – do not
  • hadn’t – had not
  • hasn’t – has not
  • haven’t – have not
  • he’d – he had; he would
  • he’ll – he will; he shall
  • he’s – he is; he has
  • I’d – I had; I would
  • I’ll – I will; I shall
  • I’m – I am
  • I’ve – I have
  • isn’t – is not
  • let’s – let us
  • mightn’t – might not
  • mustn’t – must not
  • shan’t – shall not
  • she’d – she had; she would
  • she’ll – she will; she shall
  • she’s – she is; she has
  • shouldn’t – should not
  • that’s – that is; that has
  • there’s – there is; there has
  • they’d – they had; they would
  • they’ll – they will; they shall
  • they’re – they are
  • they’ve – they have
  • we’d – we had; we would
  • we’re – we are
  • we’ve – we have
  • weren’t – were not
  • what’ll – what will; what shall
  • what’re – what are
  • what’s – what is; what has
  • what’ve – what have
  • where’s – where is; where has
  • who’s – who had; who would
  • who’ll – who will; who shall
  • who’re – who are
  • who’s – who is; who has
  • who’ve – who have
  • won’t – will not
  • wouldn’t – would not
  • you’d – you had; you would
  • you’ll – you will; you shall
  • you’re – you are
  • you’ve – you have

Example Sentences:

  • It’s rain outside.
  • I’ll be there.
  • I haven’t met him before.
  • I’m planning to write a book someday.
  • She’s been working.
  • Who’s at the door?
  • They weren’t hungry, because they’d already eaten.
  • I can’t believe it’s snowing again.

Apostrophe Rules for Possession (Possessive Apostrophe)

Apostrophe Before S

In most cases, we add an apostrophe before s for singular nouns to show possession. For examples, dog owned by Jack -> Jacks dog, wallet belongs to Jim -> Jims wallet, etc.


  • The children’s room
  • The men’s work
  • The women’s club
  • A ship’s captain
  • A doctor’s patient
  • A car’s engine

Example sentences:

  • The girl’s hands were chapped by the cold.
  • The cat’s toy was missing.
  • John’s attempts to solve the problem were rewarded.

Apostrophe Rules for Possession (Possessive Apostrophe Image)

Apostrophe Rules for Possession (Possessive Apostrophe)

Apostrophe After S

For plural nouns, we simply add an apostrophe after s except for those few plural nouns that do not end in s.


  • Boys’ ball
  • Babies’ shoes
  • Lemons’ acidity
  • Owls’ eyes
  • Students’ bag
  • Two girls’ dresses

Example sentences:

  • The tables’ legs were all wobbly and needed repair.
  • Cherries’ stones can break your teeth if you are not careful.
  • People are prepared to pay high prices for designers’ clothes.


We use an apostrophe and an –s to indicate the plural form of lowercase letters.


  • You need to write your l’s more legibly. 

Apostrophe Rules (‘) When to an Apostrophe | Image

(') Apostrophe Rules: When to an Apostrophe in English

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Rajasekhar M
Rajasekhar M
7 months ago

Good Info. Thanks.

5 months ago

Positive words

5 months ago

Postive words menings

A Baker
A Baker
4 months ago

So is it “I work at the baker’s” or “I work at the bakers.” Does it need an apostrophe?

2 months ago
Reply to  A Baker

“I work at the bakers’.”

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