The apostrophe (a-POS-tro-fee) is a single vertical mark (‘) or (’). Learn useful apostrophe rules with example sentences and infographic to help you use this punctuation mark correctly.
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The Apostrophe (‘/’)
What is an apostrophe?
The symbol (‘) or (’) is called an apostrophe in the English language. Its top is level with those of the letters surrounding it. It may be written either straight or curled with a knob at the top.
The mark has two main functions: to show that letters have been omitted in a contraction, and to show possession.
When to use an apostrophe
This punctuation mark has two main functions. First, it replaces the letters that have been omitted in a contraction
- He is waiting for us at the mall.
- He’s waiting for us at the mall.
- We will be ready to buy a car next summer.
- We’ll be ready to buy a car next summer.
- I am very disappointed that I didn’t get the job.
- I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get the job.
The punctuation mark (‘), with “s,” is also used to show possession.
- Courtney’s office is down the hall this way.
- The city’s growth has been phenomenal over the last few decades.
- Luke’s job is to make sure the vending machines are refilled when they are empty.
What if a name ends with “s” and you want to add an apostrophe to show that something is possessed by that person? Do you add another “s” after the mark (‘) in the last sentence? Actually, both ways are correct—just be consistent.
- Marcus’s explanation was very clear.
- Marcus’ time with our company is coming to an end.
Sometimes, if a plural with a single letter or symbol looks odd with just a letter “s,” an apostrophe is used. It may also be omitted in these situations, but be consistent.
- The students as a group received 18 A’s, 13 B’s, 12 C’s, 3 D’s, and 3 F’s.
- Q&A’s will be held after all the lectures, so have your questions ready.
For a plural of a lowercase letter, this punctuation mark (‘) should be used.
- Americans sometimes sign their emails with x’s and o’s, meaning kisses and hugs.
(‘/’) Apostrophe Rules Infographic
Learn more with useful rules on how to use quotation marks in English.