Learning English grammar the easy way – using apostrophes

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This blog post is part of a series of posts that aim to correct common English grammar mistakes.

In English language there is a lot of importance on the apostrophe and where it is used. Putting apostrophes in the wrong place is the most common mistake that people make when they are learning English grammar. But they’re pretty simple to use. Here’s how you do it:

Apostrophes are used to help indicate ownership or possession. When something belongs to one person the apostrophe goes after the person and just before the “s”. For example -

“The hammer belongs to that builder” = “it is the builder’s hammer” = correct

When something/things belong to more than one person you put the apostrophe after the “s”. For example -

“The hammers belong to those builders” = “they are those builders’ hammers” = correct

Apostrophes are also used to show when a word is missing a letter (shortened versions of words). For example “does not” can be shorted to “doesn’t” by replacing the “o” from not with an apostrophe and pushing the two words together. For example -

“Cannot” = “can’t”

“Do not” = “don’t”

“They are” = “they’re”

You never use an apostrophe to make a word plural! For example –

“I can see two dog’s” = incorrect.

“I can see two dogs” = correct.

Connor FitzPatrick is the newest addition to the English Language Centre Brighton and has worked within English language schools since graduating from university. One of his many jobs is ensuring all grammar and language is correct and accurate across ELC’s websites and all its social streams.

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