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​​In a nutshell

Apostrophes are used to join two words together or to show something belongs to someone. In this summary, you will learn how to use apostrophes in your writing.


When you join two words together, you use an apostrophe to show that there are some letters missing. Contractions are the new words made from joining two words together.


Original words



I am
"I am going to the shop." would become "I'm going to the shop."
She is
"She is my best friend." would become "She's my best friend."
He will
"He will go to the park after school." would become "He'll go to the park after school."
They are
"They are having a picnic on Sunday." would become "They're having a picnic on Sunday."
Does not
"It does not matter." would become "It doesn't matter."

Not all contractions are two words joined together. Some contractions are simply shorter versions of one word or a shorter way to say a few words.


​​original word


He will not
He won't

Apostrophes show possession

​To show something belongs to somebody or something, you add an apostrophe, followed by an 's' to the end of the owner's name.


Original sentence

Sentence with the contraction

The laptop belonged to Arjun.
The laptop was Arjun's.
The fur of that cat is very fluffy.
That cat's fur is very fluffy.
I am using a pen that belongs to my aunt.
I am using my aunt's pen.

When the owner's name already ends in an 's', you should still add an apostrophe to show possession.


Original sentence

Sentence showing possession

The bag that belonged to James was found on the playground.
James' bag was found on the playground.
I spoke to a friend of Silas.
I spoke to Silas' friend.

Using apostrophes to show possession to a group

If you are writing about something that belongs to more than one person, or a group of people, the rules are slightly different. If the plural word already ends in an 's', simply add an apostrophe after this to show possession:


  • ​The twins' outfits always matched.
  • The neighbours' house was broken into last night.

If the plural word does not end in an 's', add an apostrophe followed by an 's':

  • The children's new scooters are great.
  • The teachers' staff room is really cool.

Apostrophes in it is and it's

'Its' and 'It's' can be very confusing, but it is very important that you know the difference and can use it accurately in your writing.


'It's', is a contracted version of 'it is' or 'it has'.


original phrase

The Phrase using 'it's'

It is very hot outside.
It's very hot outside.
It has been a long day.
It's been a long day.


When using the word 'its' to show possession, you do not need to use an apostrophe. 'Its' can be used in the same way as 'his' or 'her', to show possession for nouns without a gender. 


Original phrase

the Phrase using 'its'

Have you seen her leash?
Have you seen its leash?
The pizza in Italy is famous.
Italy is famous for its pizza.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use the word 'its' to show possession?

How do I use an apostrophe to show possession?

What are apostrophes used for?


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