Apostrophe Rules – English Grammar Lesson to Improve Writings Skills – Punctuation Marks 

Using Apostrophes (‘) could be confusing for native and non native speakers and people make some common grammar mistakes while using an apostrophe in written English, such as emails. However, they aren’t difficult to master, if you know a few Apostrophe rules. In this English Grammar usage lesson with Ceema learn some basic Grammar rules to use Apostrophe rules in written English so that you could write emails confidently and improve your English writing skills.

Take the Quiz : –

1. They are sure ……. a prank.


2. We clicked three pictures. The ……………. clarity were not good.


3. Tim, Keith and Randy were playing football. Sam came and kicked the ………. ball away.


4. Where did you leave ………… keys?


5. Professor ………….. lectures are very inspiring.


6. Don’t touch those snakes. The ………….. venom is dangerous.


7. The ………. books were expensive

a) Children’s
b) Childrens
c) Childrens’


Question 1 of 7

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Complete Lesson Transcript :

Guys this is Ceema once again and in today’s lesson I’m going to teach you how to use the apostrophe correctly. Hmm! Why have I taken this topic? Why am I teaching this topic to you? Because 95% of people that I have met and I’m talking about people who really know English very well they do not know to use the apostrophe properly and I don’t blame you because nowadays we have auto text on our WhatsApp on our Gmail and frankly it is kind of spoiled us so we have never really learned the art of writing without mistakes, we’ve got auto text to take care of everything, don’t we? Well don’t worry today I’m here to show you that apostrophes are really important whether you’re giving an IELTS test or simply writing a simple email at work. Okay so I have put together some important rules that will help you use the apostrophe properly. Believe me this is gonna take your, your writing quality from here up to somewhere here so pay attention. The first rule you need to understand is that you will never ever use an apostrophe which looks like this, in case you don’t know. You don’t use this when you’re talking about possessive pronouns or possessives. What are possessive pronouns? Pronouns that show that they belong to something or something belongs to them. For example words like its, yours, theres, hers. I’ve heard, I’ve seen a lot of people write, “This bag is their’s.” Seriously? What is this? This is not even a word, you cannot use an apostrophe after the ‘R’ followed by the ‘S’ because this word is a possessive, it shows that the bag belongs to these people so I will never use an apostrophe where I am talking about possessives like hers, I can’t say, “This bag is her’s.” That’s wrong. “This bag is hers.” without the apostrophe or I can say that it’s fur, I’m referring to my dog here, “Its fur is brown.” Or “This computer is yours.” Okay? So no possessives, so no apostrophe when we’re talking about possessives, clear?

Okay, moving on to the next rule which tells me now pay attention here you must use, you have to use an apostrophe plus the ‘S’ which means the apostrophe will be followed by the ‘S’ if the singular noun owns something or should I say possesses something or if that singular noun happens to be a member of a thing. Let’s look at an example don’t worry, “Jack’s guitar classes start at 11:00.” Let’s understand this very, very properly now, jack is a singular noun, correct? Okay check he is singular, just one Jack yeah not two of them good and we’re talking about him being a member of a thing, he’s a member of a guitar class, he’s taken admission so he, he belongs to them he is a member so, I will say Jack, I’ll put the apostrophe followed by the ‘S’ because Jack happens to be singular and he is a member of a thing, similarly we’ve learned that if it is a singular noun and if that singular noun owns something, even then you will use the apostrophe followed by the ‘S’. So we’ve got the next sentence which says Peter’s, “Peter’s dog is playing.” Whose dog? A singular noun, Peter just 1 Peter who owns a dog, he is playing which means after the singular noun I will put the ‘S’.

Okay now we’re coming to something that you probably haven’t heard so pay attention now, you will not, never, you will not ever use the apostrophe followed by the ‘S’, if you are talking about a plural noun which ends with an ‘S’. Now why am I saying that the plural noun if it ends with an ‘S’ because not all plural nouns end with an ‘S’, did you know that? Well some of you didn’t but for those who did not know it not all plural nouns end with an ‘S’ but if the plural noun ends with an ‘S’ like for example mangoes or photos they end with an ‘S’ but there are some plural nouns which don’t end with an ‘S’ like oxen, right? So let’s go back to the rule now, if the plural noun ends with an ‘S’ don’t use the apostrophe with an ‘S’ so how are you gonna write it look at this, “Our parents’ wardrobe was made in 1950.” For those who cannot see, the way I’ve written it is parents’ and I’ve put an apostrophe after the ‘S’ but I have not used another ‘S’ after it. Do you know why? Because over here my plural noun I want to show that the plural noun owns something. So over here what are we talking about? We’re talking about my parents’ wardrobe, the wardrobe belongs to them they’ve, they’ve bought it for money, it’s theirs, right? So I say our parents’ wardrobe was made in 1950, okay? So let’s talk about other verbs like mangoes, “The mangoes’ taste was amazing.” Or “The photos’ clarity was not so great.” Right? So let me repeat, don’t ever, ever use an apostrophe followed by another ‘S” if you are talking about a plural noun which already ends with an ‘S’ and if that pronoun happens to own something, okay? So don’t ever write my parent’s wardrobe that’s wrong. Don’t ever write my parents’s wardrobe that’s again wrong you will simply say my parents’ wardrobe because the wardrobe belongs to your parents and your parents are plural nouns and they obviously own something, okay? Is that clear? Great!

Okay then now let’s move on to the next rule which says, you are now going to use an apostrophe followed by an ‘S’ if you are talking about plural nouns that don’t end with an ‘S’. Well this is kind of the opposite of this rule, right? So as I told you some plural nouns don’t end with an ‘S’, right? Some of them do like we saw so if that plural noun ends with an ‘S’ and if it owns something or possesses something in that case you will use an apostrophe and follow that with an ‘S’ so I will say my children’s I will use the apostrophe after the plural noun and use an S after it “My children’s toys come very expensive.” Or they are very expensive. The toys belong to my children, children is plural and it, they don’t end with an ‘S’ because I can’t say my childrens, I have two childrens, No! I have two children, or I have ten children, okay? It’s a plural noun does not end with an ‘S’ but because it’s a plural noun that does not end with an ‘S’ I can use the apostrophe and use an ‘S’ after it because we’re talking about plural nouns that own something.

Okay let’s now go to the next rule and the last rule of this lesson which says that apostrophe must be used, you should use them in contractions. What is a contraction? Okay when there are two words, when you’ve joined two words together that is a contraction. So I and am becomes I’m while talking you don’t say, “I am a girl.” “I’m a girl.” you won’t say, “You are beautiful.” When you, when you achieve a certain amount of fluency while, while talking or while even while writing you’ll simply say, “You’re a nice girl.” “He’s, she’s so contractions are one word where two words have been combined to form them. So I am has been combined to form a contraction called I’m. When you have a contraction, you will use an apostrophe after the first word, okay?

All right then thank you so much for watching. Now I want to see how well you’ve understood so I have a test at the end of this lesson, believe me if you do well in this test, that shows that you’ve understood and if you don’t do well in the test don’t worry, it means that you need some more practice and that will mean that once you practice more, you’ll be great at writing good emails or great at just writing in general. So I’ll see you back with some more lessons do take the test at the end of this lesson and I’ll be back with some lessons that will help you be good at speaking and writing English until then this is me saying take care, ta-ta.

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