Punctuation

APOSTROPHES 

Apostrophes make nouns possessive.

For singular nouns, always add apostrophe + -s

The boy’s ball = The ball belonging to the boy

The dress’s buttons = The buttons on the dress

For plural nouns, always add -s + apostrophe, or -es + apostrophe if the singular version ends in -s (e.g. dress).

BUT if the plural form of a noun does not end in -s (e.g. feet, children, geese), then add apostrophe + -s only.

The boys’ ball = The ball belonging to the boys

The dresses’ buttons = The buttons on the dresses

The children’s game = The game the children are playing.

Pronouns: no apostrophe = possessive 

 

It’s vs. Its

It’s = It is

Its = Possessive form of it

Its’/Its’s = Do not exist

Note: when the ACT tests it’s vs. its, the answer is virtually always its because that is the version students tend to have the most difficulty using correctly. 

Incorrect: London is a city known for it’s (it is) many tourist attractions.

Correct: London is a city known for its many tourist attractions.

Incorrect: London is a popular tourist attraction; in fact, its among the most visited cities in the world.

Correct: London is a popular tourist attraction; in fact, it’s among the most visited cities in the world.

 

They’re vs. Their vs. There

They’re = they are

Their = possessive form of they; plural of its

There = a place

They’re

Correct: London and Paris are two of the most famous cities and Europe, and they’re (they are) known for having many tourist attractions.

Their

Correct: London and Paris, two of the most famous cities in Europe, are known for their many tourist attractions.

There

Correct: In the nineteenth century, Paris was considered the capital of the art world because so many famous painters lived and worked there.

Who’s vs. Whose

Who’s = Who is

Correct: Barbara McClintock is a scientist who’s (who is) best known for her discovery of “jumping” genes.

Whose = Possessive of who

Correct: Barbara McClintock is a scientist whose discovery of “jumping” genes helped earn her the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Note that whose, unlike who, can be used for both people and things/places.

Correct: London is a city whose many museums, palaces, and monuments make it a popular tourist destination.

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