San Jose City College

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   How to Use Apostrophes

 Use an apostrophe...                                                                                  Need a dictionary? [Open][Close]


1. to make contracted forms...
it's, let's, I'm, I've, I'd, you're, you've, we'd, they'll, who'll, who's, what's, that's, won't, can't, couldn't
2. to to show possession or ownership
singular noun: soldier's, taxi driver's, president's, police officer's, nurse's, Abdul's, Jill's
plural noun: soldiers', officers', kidnappers', nurses', parents', doctors', guards', civilians'
Note: Do not use an apostrophe with inanimate objects, buildings, or furniture
classroom desks, cafeteria food, computer table, theater entrance, hotel lobby, counter top

Test yourself on singular and plural possessive forms. Spelling and capitalization are important. If your answer isn't right after two attempts, type a question mark and hit enter.

Noun
Possessive Form
Noun
Possessive Form
engineer
professor
George
Katharine
monkey
students
officials
policeman
woman
women
girls
children
Boris
friend
firemen
experts

 A look at Noun + Noun Combinations:
Inanimate (nonliving) objects cannot own anything. Instead of signaling possession, a noun compound (noun+noun combination) is used. For example, we don't speak of the mouse's trap, but of the mousetrap, and we don't speak of the pad for the mouse, but of the mouse pad. Note that one is written as one word and the other as two. When you read, note the noun + noun combinations and how they are combined. Practice with the phrases in the table below. They will all be spelled as two words.

a keyboard for a computer a
a fixture for a light a
a hanging for a wall a
a desk for a computer a
a net for catching butterflies a
poison for killing rats        NotePoison and furniture are noncount nouns. Hence, no article.
furniture for the living room

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