Using apostrophes correctly
Apostrophes can be used:

  • To replace missing letters (e.g., can't, isn't)
  • To show possession (e.g., dog's kennel, dogs' kennel)
  • In temporal expressions (e.g., three months' wages)
  • To show awkward plurals (e.g., 6's and 7's)

When to Use Apostrophes

The rules on using apostrophes can be summarised:

Unless it is covered by one of the categories above, an apostrophe should not be used.

The Most Common Mistake with Apostrophes

Words that end in the letter s seem to attract apostrophes. The plural of words ending in vowels (e.g., video, patio) are extremely prone to this error.

Anteater's prefer termite's to ant's.
Pearl's melt in vinegar.

Hire two video's for the price of three.  [correct the example]
(Do not add an apostrophe just because a word ends in 's'.)

Putting an apostrophe before the s in a plural word is a very common mistake and is considered a grammatical howler.

Select the correct version:


See also:

Using apostophes
The apostrophe error with plurals
Apostrophes in time (temporal) expressions
Apostrophes replace letters
Apostrophes to show the plural of abbreviations
Apostrophes show possession
Mother's/Mothers' Day, Father's/Fathers' Day, Veteran's/Veterans' Day, Manager's/Managers' Meeting, Chief Executive's/Chief Executives' Meeting