The Apostrophe: It Really Matters (to Some)
Stefan Gatward is a man in England who is known as the Apostrophe Man of Royal Tunbridge Wells. That's because he goes around identifying street signs which have either an apostrophe missing or have one in the wrong place. He even went so far as to paint in a missing apostrophe on a street sign in his town. (It was subsequently removed.)
But his efforts have not gone without effect.
Local government groups around the country have now resorted to issuing crib sheets to their staff in a bid to raise standards of grammar in their organizations. The guides warn against basic errors, such as the common mistake of using an apostrophe to denote a plural, eg: 'banana's for sale'.
Of course, problems with apostrophes are not limited to British government officials. If you'd like your child to use that punctuation mark effectively, here are the some of the major rules
Rule 1. Use the apostrophe with contractions. The apostrophe is always placed at the spot where the letter(s) has been removed.
Examples: don't, isn't
Rule 2. Use the apostrophe to show possession. Place the apostrophe before the s to show singular possession.
Examples: one boy's hat
Rule 3. Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.
Example: This was his father's, not his, jacket.
Rule 4. To show plural possession, make the noun plural first. Then immediately use the apostrophe.
Examples: two boys' hats
Rule 5. With a singular compound noun, show possession with 's at the end of the word.
Example: my mother-in-law's hat
Rule 6. If the compound noun is plural, form the plural first and then
use the apostrophe.
Example: my two brothers-in-law's hats
Rule 7. Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.
Examples: Cesar and Maribel's home is constructed of redwood.
Rule 8. The only time an apostrophe is used for it's is when it is a contraction for it is or it has.
Examples: It's a nice day.
Rule 9. Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).
Examples: Alex's skating was a joy to behold.
Now, you're ready to help your child with the grammar quizzes that might appear --in case his or her school still requires grammar.