Writing Tip #39: Learn When Not To Use Apostrophes


Brian's Writing Tip #39: Learn When Not To Use ApostrophesLearn when not to use apostrophes. Few mistakes send grammar snobs into a tizzy like misused apostrophes. It’s not hard to learn the apostrophe rules, and it’s worth the trouble just to avoid the grief you’ll get when you goof it up. Apostrophes are used to mark missing letters in contractions and to show possession in nouns. That’s it. Don’t use apostrophes for possessive pronouns, and don’t use them to create plurals (except in the rare instance when talking about plural lowercase letters: “Dot your i’s and cross your t’s”). Careless writers are prone to sprinkling their writing with unnecessary apostrophes. Don’t be careless.


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Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Ab

    What about usage of apostrophe with “it”, as in the case of possessive versus the contraction of “it is”. Is an apostrophe used in both cases?

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko08-18-2014

      No. Its is a possessive pronoun, like his, hers, ours, and yours. These do not include an apostrophe. Only use an apostrophe when creating a contraction of “it is” or “it has.”

  2. Jen

    The other day I saw this on the back of a truck “Country Ladys Don’t Drive Mercedes.” She didn’t use an apostrophe… 🙂

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko08-13-2014

      And she shouldn’t have used an apostrophe. She should have used the correct plural form: ladies. 🙂

      • Jen

        I guess I should have made it clear that I was teasing about the apostrophe. 🙂

        • Brian Wasko
          Brian Wasko08-20-2014

          Maybe. Or maybe I’m just a little slow on the uptake. 🙂

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